Selling Out to Jesus
Follow the money. All journalists repeat this mantra because they know if you want to get at the objective facts in a hot story, look at what’s happening with the money and the truth will be right there. So if we want to know whether or not we have decided to join up and follow Jesus, we simply need to take a look at our end of the year summary of expenditures in our IRS statement and it will reveal where our hearts lie. Tragically, as Jesus began his journey up to Jerusalem where he would be crucified,a rich man ran up to him, bowed down, and asked the most important question any of us could ever ask.
“Now as Jesus started to proceed on his journey, a man ran up to him and bowed before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life.’ Jesus replied, ‘Why are you calling me good? No one is good except God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, don’t defraud, honor your father and your mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ he said, ‘All of these I have observed since I was a boy.’ Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you are lacking!’ Jesus said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me.’ Now he was dismayed over this word because he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for those having wealth to enter the kingdom of God!’” Mark 10:17-23
This rich man looks like he will play a good role in our story. He runs to Jesus and even bows before him, and he has the right question. Then Mark’s account raises questions. Why did Jesus stress that only God was good, apparently rejecting what the man said about him being a good teacher? Some critical scholars will use this to stress that the historical Jesus didn’t claim to be absolutely good, equal to God. How would you respond to this question about Jesus’ absolute goodness and divinity?
The man asked how he can inherit eternal life. How would we respond to this question? Is Jesus telling the rich man that divesting himself of all material possessions will give him a place in God’s Kingdom? Wouldn’t this contradict what John 3:16 states? What command did Jesus leave out in his listing, and how does this command expose the man’s heart?
Wrestle with these questions and let us know what you come up with.
LORD, give us insight into this section of Mark as you continue to expose how wealth and power can block us from becoming like a child and following Jesus. Help us to track carefully how you answered this rich man and why.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!