The distance to some destinations may make us anxious, such as the distance from our thirteenth birthday to being “on our own.” Jesus spoke of another distance that evidently was intended to instill focus and determination in the man receiving it. When the man, a scribe, commented favorably on Jesus’ answer to his question about the greatest commandment, Mark says that Jesus perceived that he had answered “discreetly” [“intelligently” (NASB)] (Mark 12:34a). That is when Jesus set the man’s sights on the goal, saying, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God” (v. 34b). In order to appreciate more…

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