“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked Him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?””
One of the benefits of doing an intense study of a whole book of the Bible is that we begin to see some of the connections within the book which we may have missed when we study only one part. Over eighteen months engaged an in-depth look at the Gospel according to Mark. As I did this it became increasingly clear that Mark was describing the process by which the disciples came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The skill with which our LORD revealed Himself to them, while also revealing the hardness of their own hearts to them is awesome.
John Miller writes in, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church that “The Kingdom of God advances with controversy.” This is certainly true of the conflict that Mark records in the twelfth chapter of his Gospel. Each part of the conflict advances the account, showing us how those who refused to believe were hardened in their sin being reserved for judgment while others were being brought to a real saving faith. In Mark 12:28-34 we read about a teacher of the law who seems to have a heart to seek after God, but the account ends with him being described as being near the Kingdom of God. He is near to it, but not inside it. We hope and pray that this is only part of his story, that after this encounter with Jesus that he moves on to real saving faith. His problem seems to be that he does not see his sin. He knows that he must love God, but he thinks that he already loves him sufficiently. The rest of the chapter and the gospel take us onward to a true saving faith.
This is summed up in the answer that we give with our whole lives to the question, “Do you love Jesus?” To love Him with all of our being is the requirement that God sets before us. The fact that we are humanly incapable of loving God in this whole hearted way brings us to the deep conviction of sin that we need. We want to love Him, but we do not. We think that we may be completely yielded to Him but them we find ourselves falling short. How often do we vow to serve God without reservation, and then find ourselves forgetting all about it when some new and exciting thing comes along? We need the fundamental work of the cross in our hearts bringing us to die to ourselves so that we can be raised with Him in His resurrection if we are ever to be saved. This is the very thing which God has done for us in Christ. He calls us to come to Him in faith. To come to Him requires that we be convinced that the Lord Jesus Christ is the very God who Scripture tells us that we must love with all of our hearts. It is this connection that the teacher of the law was not willing to make. He drew near to God’s Kingdom, but then refused to enter into it.
What about you? Do you love the Lord Jesus Christ with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength? Are you just outside the door of the Kingdom of God, hoping that you have done enough to enter into it? The invitation of the Gospel is for you today to come to the Lord Jesus Christ today believing that He is the Son of the Living God come into this world to bear your sin upon His cross. Do you love Jesus?