3rdweek in Lent, Friday – 20th March 2020 – Mark 12, 28-34
Example of successful inquirer
While Mark generally portrays the scribes negatively, he begins today’s passage with a scribe who respects the way in which Jesus interacts with other Jewish leaders (Mk 12,28a). The scribes were interpreters of Torah. Mark thus signals the reader that a learned representative of Judaism initiates this discussion and takes a positive role in it. The scribe’s question assumes that some of the commandments are to be given more weight than others. This question had been discussed by the Jewish community for a long time. Although asked for the most prominent, Jesus answers with two: first, a version of the Shema from Deut 6,4-5, then, Lev 19,18. The scribe agrees, summarizes the two laws, and then states that these together are better than whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. Mark tells us that the scribe had answered intelligibly or wisely. This scribe emerges from among his colleagues, who are repeatedly berated by Jesus, as an example of a successful inquirer who has a chance to find himself in the kingdom of God. In any event, Mark ends this story by saying that the Kingdom of God is not far from this scribe. This well-spoken assessment is a rare moment for the prophet from Galilee.