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Lent - Day 14

Day 14 Saturday


That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1: 3).


Mark 12: 28-34
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.


Amidst the defeats and conviction of Passion Week, there are a few bright spots. This encounter is one of them. Religious leaders had been trying to trap Jesus with trick questions. They were not seeking knowledge, but merely to disgrace Jesus with clever theological tactics. But Jesus continually answered them brilliantly. And bluntly. They were not used to hearing a young man say, “You are quite wrong” (Mark 12: 27). No doubt these leaders were furious with shame.  
One of the scribes, however, was drawn to Jesus. His question about the greatest commandment was not a trick. He wanted to be sure his life was centered on what mattered most. He saw in Jesus the Source he had always sought. 
It would be easy to overlook the courage of this scribe. There was nothing to be gained by siding with Jesus in front of those he just humiliated. There was no professional advancement awaiting an academic who spoke to Jesus as if he knew more than the elders. Rather there would be severe social consequences to one who showed allegiance to Jesus in this moment, when Jesus was definitely trending down in public opinion. This scribe backed a loser. 
But he gained ultimate treasure! The scribe and Jesus exchanged Scripture passages together. They were in fellowship as each one enhanced the other with the passages quoted. The scribe paraphrased a verse dear to Jesus’ mission, “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hos. 6: 6). Amidst the severity of Jesus’ Passion Week teaching, he did not overlook one who actually got the point. Rather he blessed the scribe, saying “You are not far from the kingdom of God!”
Our God delights in our praying back his Word to him. He loves when we find a friend and proclaim together the glories of our Redeemer. He fills us when we magnify him meditating upon his mighty acts and returning praise to him, both alone and in gathered worship. 
Make note of what difference it makes in your life to answer Scripture with Scripture in prayer and conversation.


I knew what they were doing.
Trying to trip you in technicalities.
They raised the contradiction of their compromised lives.
Would you place Caesar above the law?
Would you foment rebellion against Caesar?
The cynical Sadducees, so wealthy and worldly,
In need of no one, deluded that having all now is enough.
Would you get lost in their metaphysics?
Would you prove to be just a rube from the north?
But you did not back down.
You dared to look power in the face 
And unmask its hypocrisy and lies.
You seemed to know God himself, not just thoughts about him.
You saw the Word as a whole and knew its heart.
So I had to ask you.
Do you see what I see? Do I see rightly what we’ve all lost?
What really matters most?
You knew. You know.
Loving the one true God with everything.
Loving one another.
That’s under, before, within every sacrifice, every law.
In that moment, we touched spirits.
We exchanged Scripture.
You blessed me.
I am not far, you said, not far from the Kingdom.
The others hated me for that.
I praised you while they scorned you.
I will pay in position and place.
But I would pay anything to speak to you again.
You said I am near.
O take me the rest of the way.
For I would love you as I love the LORD I AM.
I would join you in the way you love us. 
I love you, Lord Jesus,
Take me into your Kingdom.
These are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name (John 20: 31).
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