What does Mark 12:34 mean?
ESV: And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.
NIV: When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.
NASB: When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, 'You are not far from the kingdom of God.' And then, no one dared any longer to question Him.
CSB: When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the kingdom of God." And no one dared to question him any longer.
NLT: Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, 'You are not far from the Kingdom of God.' And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.
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.
NKJV: Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” But after that no one dared question Him.
Verse Commentary:
One of the scribes, an expert in the Mosaic law, has asked Jesus to identify the primary commandment. Jesus responds that if we know God, love God, and love others, we will fulfill the whole Law. The scribe responds that this three-fold commandment even trumps the system of offerings and sacrifices God developed to cover the sins of the Israelites and honor Him.

The phrase "kingdom of God" has been interpreted to mean "going to heaven." While heaven is certainly part of the kingdom of God, the phrase encompasses much more. It means any situation where God's glory and authority are on display. In this case, it means that the scribe's acknowledgement of the spirit of the Law and how it supersedes the specifics of the Law has led him very close to an understanding of the truth of God's plan of salvation. By discussing the Law, the scribe has stumbled to within a few steps of Jesus.

It's a provocative statement. This scribe, who identifies with a group of religious leaders who are attempting to have Jesus arrested, stands affirmed by Jesus and is very close to being accepted by Him—the same Jesus who only recently overturned the tables of the merchants who supplied the sacrifice-as-business industry (Mark 11:15–19). Some leaders do understand and believe in Jesus, but they fear the shame of the rejection of the Pharisees and the loss of approval of the people (John 12:42–43). Others believe and follow Jesus in secret (John 19:38).

After the Herodians and Pharisees (Mark 12:13) ask Jesus about taxes, His answer silences them (Luke 20:26). After Jesus answers the Sadducees about the resurrection, they, too, fall quiet (Luke 20:40). Now that Jesus has not only answered but shown encouragement to a scribe, this final group grows still. Once Jesus shows the crowd how the Messiah will rule over David, no one will dare ask Him anything more (Matthew 22:46).
Verse Context:
Mark 12:28–34 occurs during the last week before the crucifixion. Jesus spends time in the temple courtyard, teaching the people and debating Jewish religious and civil leaders. Intrigued by how Jesus proves the resurrection of the dead to a group of Sadducees (Mark 12:18–26), a scribe of the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34–35) asks Jesus about the greatest commandment in the Mosaic law. The central idea of Jesus' answer is to love God and love others. But He starts at the beginning of the Shema prayer: acknowledge God is your God and He is one. This story is also in Matthew 22:34–40.
Chapter Summary:
This chapter contains lessons taught by Jesus in various circumstances. He explains the eventual destruction of traditional Judaism, the relationship between secular and sacred obligations, the nature of the resurrection, and the most important of God's commandments. Jesus also expounds on Messianic statements in the Old Testament. Jesus also condemns the glory-seeking shallowness of the scribes, and extolls the virtues of sincere, faith-based giving.
Chapter Context:
Days before, Jesus has entered Jerusalem, hailed as a hero by the people (Mark 11:1–11). While teaching in the temple courtyard, Jesus shows superior understanding of Scripture over the chief priests, scribes, and elders (Mark 12:27–33), the Pharisees and Herodians (Mark 12:13), the Sadducees (Mark 12:18), and the scribes again (Mark 12:35, 38). Sadly, even in the instance where a scribe does understand Scripture, that is no guarantee he will follow it to its logical conclusion: Jesus (Mark 12:28–34). In contrast, a humble widow exemplifies the faithfulness and piety the leaders lack (Mark 12:41–44). Jesus leaves the temple for the last time to teach the disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mark 13). In Mark 14, He prepares for the crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/26/2024 7:42:12 AM
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