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The Gospel of Mark #32 - Not Far From the Kingdom

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The Gospel of Mark #32:

“Not Far From the Kingdom”

Text: Mark 12:28-37

Thesis: To stress the importance of both knowing and doing in order to be in the Kingdom.


(1)   Someone once said: “Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.”

(2)   What about being close to the kingdom?


I.                   The Story:

A.    A scribe asked Jesus which commandment was the most important of all.

1.      “The scribes had determined that the Jews were obligated to obey 613 precepts in the Law, 365 negative precepts and 248 positive” (Wiersbe 1:153).

2.      “One of their favorite exercises was discussing which of the divine commandments was the greatest” (Wiersbe 1:153).

B.     Jesus responded by quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18, which basically summarized the 10 Commandments (i.e., the first 4 refer to loving God and the remaining 6 refer to loving one’s neighbor).

1.      First, Jesus stated that a person must love God with all of his/her heart, soul, mind, and strength.

-          “Heart, soul, mind, and strength were not intended as a breakdown or a psychological analysis of human personality – they simply meant that everything was to be devoted to loving God” (Hughes 2:115).

2.      Second, Jesus stated that a person must love his/her neighbor as himself/herself.

C.     The scribe then acknowledged that Jesus had spoken the truth.

D.    Jesus then noted that the scribe was “not far from the kingdom,” which was both a compliment and a warning because the scribe “understood the requirements of love, he needed only to love and obey the One who alone could grant him entrance to the kingdom” (MacArthur’s Notes).

E.     Beginning with verse 35, Jesus then proceeded to tell the scribe and the world that the way to get into the kingdom was to acknowledge that the Christ is both the son of David and the son of God.

1.      “Jesus’ challenge was not designed to deny the word and prophecy of Scripture but to raise the crucial issue of its proper meaning” (Lane 435).

2.      Jesus quoted Psalm 110:1 in order to stress that David “must be referring to someone greater than him and to a regime greater than his” (Garland 478).


II.                The Application:

To be in the kingdom, one must:

#1 – Love God with his/her whole being.

#2 – Love one’s neighbor as himself/herself.

#3 – Accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God.


(1)   Obviously, being close is not enough.

(2)   Therefore, come to Jesus today so that you can be in the kingdom, not just close.

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