Mark 12:28-34: The puncturing of pride.
“28 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?’ 29 ‘The most important one,’ answered Jesus, ‘is this: “Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” 31 The second is this: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no commandment greater than these.’ 32 ‘Well said, teacher,’ the man replied. ‘You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.’ 34 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.” NIV
I’m not surprised that today’s passage ends as it does, are you? (34b). The surprising thing for me is that they didn’t give up sooner. Whatever they had, Jesus had more. He always responded to their ‘shots across the bow’ with superior firepower.
The arrogance of this man gets me (32). It feels like he’s acting the part of the superior teacher. It’s as if Jesus is his student and the man is marking his paper. He certainly gives Jesus a good grade. How could he do otherwise? But it still seems that he’s being condescending.
It didn’t take many words from Jesus to stick a pin in His pride ‘balloon’ (34). No wonder other opponents took note and backed off. There are times when the greatest thing Jesus can do for a human being is to take them down a peg or two – even if it hurts. It will.
PRAYER: Lord, help me to humble myself before you. I would rather humble myself than have to be humbled.