Sunday, February 14, 2016
A reading of the Gospel according to St. Mark reveals the appearance of scribes on several occasions. Scribes in ancient Israel were learned men whose business was to study the Law, transcribe it, and write commentaries on it. In Mark’s Gospel the scribes who show up do so as opponents of Jesus. For example, Mark tells us that the scribes ask questions of Jesus, and make comments that throw an negative light on what Jesus was doing (see Mark 2:16; 3:22; 7:5).
However, in one instance, Jesus, in discussion with a scribe, says, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34 RSV). This should make any reader of Mark’s Gospel take notice. What did that scribe, that opponent of Jesus, say that would evoke this response from Jesus? The scribe responded to Jesus’ assertion that the whole law revolved around love for God and neighbor: “…you have truly said that (God) is one, … to love one's neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices” (Mark 12:32-33 RSV).
Why did Jesus say that this scribe was not far from the kingdom of God? Read more...