12:28 One of the scribes came near and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, he asked him, “Which commandment is the first of all?”
12:29 Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one;
12:30 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.’
12:31 The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
12:32 Then the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher; you have truly said that ‘he is one, and besides him there is no other’;
12:33 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,’ –this is much more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
12:34 When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.
We have all heard the gospel passage where we learn the golden rule. We are familiar with the greatest command as well. However, it is easy to overlook one simple statement that Jesus spoke when the scribes and Jesus actually agreed on something;
You are not far from the kingdom of God.
Jesus was alluding to to the deep desire of God for His Children. Those who confess the Lord, love the Lord, and love others, are the ones who are going to see the kingdom of God. The prophets Micah and Hosea wrote about what the Lord desired also, saying.
And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)
Where does all of this originate from? It’s from the very beginning of the covenant. Moses spoke to Israel saying,
And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 10:12)
From the very beginning God has desired for us to love Him and walk humbly with Him. More than sacrifices or obligatory duties, God want’s to be in a relationship with His people. Do not get weighed down in church doctrines or theological treatises. Just love the Lord, love others, and walk with Him in obedience and humility. Do these things and the Kingdom of God is not far from you. Indeed, it is in you.
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