Hate is Everywhere Except for One Who is Not Far from the Kingdom of God

Friday is for Heart Songs

Fig Tree 2It is passion week, Tuesday afternoon to be exact.

On Sunday the Temple grounds were examined along with the hearts that frequented the confines there. No faith-fruit was in evidence. (Mark 11:11)

On Monday, the King returned, looking for fruit on a fig tree (Mark 11:12). The fig tree is judged (v. 14), a portent of what is about to happen when the King arrives at the Temple (Mark 11:15-19).

On Tuesday (Mark 11:20), the Pharisees and Sadducees, along with the Scribes, elders and chief priests are looking for a fight. Angry over his overturning of the status quo on Monday, they ask “what gives you the right” to do and say what you do? They are trying to trap him in a religious gaff, a logical conundrum. But it doesn’t work and their anger with him grows. They don’t like his answer (Mark 11:27-33)

Jesus knows their hearts so he composes a parable on the spot, designed to gag them in a spiritual apoplexy. Jesus knows what they are intending to do. The parable makes that clear. They now know that he knows what they are planning (Mark 12:1-12).

Pride rises. They will catch him. They will put him on a spit and turn him slowly over the fire and roast him with their questions. The Pharisees try first (Mark 12:13-17). They fail.

The Sadducees step up to the plate with questions about the resurrection. Swing and a miss (Mark 12:18-27). They fail.

A solitary scribe, one steeped in the painstaking, eye-straining, muscle-tightening task of copying holy texts containing the very words of God—he has been listening to the battle of wits between the leaders of Israel’s religion and He who is the Real Object of their faith.

His question is not a test, not a trick. His question is real. “Which commandment is the most important of all?” (Mark 12:28)

The Heart-Knower tells him and hears the Scribes response. “And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'” (Mark 12:34)

“Lord Jesus, there is so much hate toward you, your gospel and your people in the world. Some of the hate directed at us is deserved. We have failed you in so many ways. Forgive us for our slothful and capricious hearts. Change us into true beacons of light and hope for the world. Make us lovers who are willing to sacrifice for those who would hate us. And Lord, by your mercy for them, draw more hearts to You, that the gospel we preach would find more hearts like this nameless Scribe from the Tuesday before You laid your life down for our sin and salvation. By the power of Your name I ask it. Amen.”

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