Mark 10: 17 – 27
To Enter God’s Kingdom
17As he(Jesus) went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”
18-19Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.”
20He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”
22The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23-25Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.”
26That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.
27Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”
We all know this story. and it is traditionally interpreted to mean that we all need to sell everything and follow Christ into poverty.
I see something else here.
The rich young man wanted a checklist to get into heaven. He wanted to know what he could DO. (how often am I like this?) I think Jesus deliberately picked the most impossible thing he could think of. He gave this rich young man the most horrific task He could possibly come up with. He told him, in essence, to give up. To do nothing. To trust in God's deliverance.
Verse 21 says Jesus looked him hard in the eye…..and LOVED him.
Can you imagine the Son of God looking you hard in the eye. Do you think there is any way He could do that and not know everything about you?
I believe that Jesus knew this young man thoroughly in that one instant. He knew his flaws, and all the good intentions. He knew the young man’s struggles and joys. He saw that there was ONE thing lacking (oh for God to tell me that I only lack ONE thing. I’m sure God has a looooong list of improvements that need to be made in my heart)
but what was lacking is NOT that the young man had wealth.
the lack was in the faith department.
He needed to understand. Deep, gut wrenchingly understand that there was
NO POSSIBLE WAY for him to EARN SALVATION
that was the “lack”
The rich young man got set an impossible task because Jesus was hoping that he would see it for what it was: a lesson. Learn that you CAN NOT DO THIS ON YOUR OWN.
I really feel I can almost hear the thoughts running through Jesus head as He waited for the rich young man to understand. to “get it”
“Let go my sweet young man, let go and let ME be GOD in your life. It’s not the riches that have such a hold on you. The thing that has a strangle hold on you is that you still think you can somehow EARN MY LOVE. Didn’t you notice that I loved you on sight?”
and then the heartbreak for Christ as the rich young man, the man with only ONE flaw, walked away. Because he knew he wasn’t good enough. He got half the lesson, the “I can’t accomplish this” part…….but he missed the GLORY of the lesson.
Yes I’m not good enough, I never can be. But God is perfect. and He has offered to do it for me.
God will keep my marriage fresh and lovely. If I trust it to HIM
God will help me in the day to day grind of work. If I trust it to HIM
Jesus will guide my every move in raising Ginny. If I trust it to HIM
there. is. no. check. list.
There is nothing I need do but give it ALL up to God and give Him the glory.
thank you Jesus, for loving me. Even though I have way more than “just one flaw”