Read Mark 10:17-31
One day a rich man approaches Jesus with the question that I am sure many have wondered, “What must I do to live forever? (inherit eternal life)”. Let’s face it, this man was probably rich because he had inherited great wealth from his family, and now he wants to know how to add eternal life to his great fortune.
Jesus responds with a question (he does that a lot); “Why do you call me good, only God is good”. But instead of waiting for a response, he goes on to ask the man another question, “You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor Your Father and Mother.” (v19). This is fascinating because Jesus lists off the last six of the Ten Commandments but misses the first four. See, the last six Commandments all concern how we behave towards one another. The man proudly claims, “I have done all of these since I was a child”. However, Jesus knows that this man’s problems do not lie in his relationship to other people, but rather in his relationship with God. Commandments one and two state; “have no other gods before me” and “have no idols”. This man’s wealth had become a barrier to his relationship to God. The definition of idol that I find most helpful is: an idol is anything that you give greater importance to than God. Anything that you say, “I can’t live without my…Switch, money, soccer skills” has become your idol. It’s not just things but can also be people, any person you make more important than God has become your idol.
To the rich young man Jesus says, “go and sell everything you have, and then come follow me”. Jesus is saying get rid of everything that you are worshipping that is not God. The man left. I love what Jesus does next… he lets him go. He didn’t chase after him, he didn’t change his message to make it more appealing, he didn’t negotiate with him (“well, only give away half your possessions”). No Jesus lets him go. So often we are tempted to make the gospel message warm and fuzzy so that people will come to Christ – some people even change the message promising things like wealth and riches. I have even heard of one church giving away a lucky door prize of a new car in order to get people to come to church. I think these people would have chased the rich young man. Jesus never chased – he said this is what it will cost you – like it or leave it. Jesus turns to his disciples and tells them, “It is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. Now, really perplexed, the disciples respond, “then who can be saved?”. I can just imagine a glimmer in Jesus’ eyes and a smile crossing his face as he explains: that’s just it, by our own efforts no one. For mere humans it is impossible. But for God all things are possible. Do you get it?
Salvation isn’t just something you choose one day – it is a miracle of God. Our own salvation by our own efforts is impossible, but for God all things are possible, we are saved not because of what we have done but because of what He has done.
- What stood out for you in today’s story? Do you have any questions?
- Can you think of anything that you might be treating like an idol in your life?
- Is there anything that Jesus has asked you to give up but you are not willing to? Maybe like unforgiveness against someone?
- How could you connect with someone (remembering social distancing) outside of your family to encourage or be a friend to this week?
- Take some time to praise God that Salvation is a free gift from Him and that because of Jesus we can boldly enter into God’s presence with confidence.
Pray For Each Other
If you get a chance during the day or later in the week, catch up Mark 10:32-34 because tomorrow we continue to Mark 10:35.