Not Far from the Kingdom
Mark 12:34
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said to him, You are not far from the kingdom of God…

True praise never does harm; it softens and humbles. Yet this man belonged to a class which had no right to expect any indulgence at Christ's hand. Christ sees the good points of the scribe. There is a "kingdom of God" in this world, and it has distinct boundary lines. What was there in the man which made Christ speak of him as "near to the kingdom"?

I. That the scribe spoke practically and sensibly, and without prejudice — as Christ expresses it, "discreetly." Such a mind will always be approximating to the kingdom of truth.

II. There were further indications, in the particular thoughts which were in the scribe's mind, that he was nearing the shores of truth. It is plain that he saw before his eyes the true, relative value of the types and ceremonies of the Jewish church. He recognized them as inferior to the great principles of truth and love. His mind had travelled so far as to see that the sum of all true religion is love to God and man. How is that love of God implanted in a man's breast? Will the beauties of nature do it? Will the kindnesses of Providence do it? Will the natural instincts of gratitude do it? I think not. There must be the sense of forgiveness. Within this he distinguished and magnified the unity of God. "For there is one God," etc. The unity of God the argument for a unity of service.

III. And perhaps, still more than all, that enlightened Jew had been drawn near to the Person of Christ. Consequently he consulted Him as a Teacher. Do we not know that Christ is the kingdom of God, and that we are all in or out of that kingdom just according to what Christ is to us? To be indifferent to Him is to be very "far off;" to feel the need of Him is to be "near."

IV. The most affecting of all possible conditions is a nearness which never enters. If I had to select the most awful passage in history, I should select the Israelites on the Canaanitish boundary — they saw, they heard, they tasted, they were on the eve to pass; — they disbelieved, they did not go in, they were sent back, and they never came near again; but their carcasses fell in the wilderness. It will be an unutterably solemn thing if Christ shall, at the last, say to any of us, "Thou wast not far from the kingdom of God."

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

WEB: When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." No one dared ask him any question after that.

Not Far from the Kingdom of God
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