THE CALL TO RENOUNCE ALL
Lord, nothing comes before You in this life.
Read MARK 10:17–31
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
a Mark 10:19 Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20
b Mark 10:24 Some manuscripts is for those who trust in riches
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“They shared everything they had … God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there was no needy person among them” (Acts 4:32–34).
Here we read of another incident that happens “on His way” (17), so we can expect another lesson on discipleship. A wealthy man approaches Jesus and wants to know what he must do to obtain eternal life. It is clear from the subsequent conversation that the man is sincere. He has kept the fifth to ninth commandments of the Decalogue (19, 20), but Jesus’ challenge in verse 21 relates to the tenth commandment, exposing the extent to which the man “covets” his own possessions (Exod 20:17). Sadly, he cannot do the one thing Jesus asks from him – to part with his wealth.
In verses 23–27, Jesus elaborates on the difficulties accompanying wealth. In fact, Jesus’ pithy maxim in verse 25 suggests that it is impossible for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom. Clearly astonished at the implications, the disciples question who, then, can possibly be saved. Jesus replies that it requires a miracle (27). While Mark does not elaborate, Luke follows Mark’s account with the story of a wealthy tax collector, demonstrating that such miracles are possible. Zacchaeus is able to enter God’s kingdom – but only after he has shed his wealth (cf. Luke 19:1–10)!
Jesus’ radical teaching clearly rattles Peter, who wants to check whether he and his colleagues have done enough and are on the right track (28). After all, he did leave his fishing business and his family to follow Jesus. Jesus assures them that they will be handsomely rewarded for leaving all and following Him – and not without persecutions! This statement is a clear reminder that we follow Jesus on the road to the cross, a road strewn with an inseparable mixture of blessing, joy, and suffering.
Is there something that stops you from following Jesus wholeheartedly? Consider the importance of possessions in your life. Are you using them for the good of others?
Lord, teach us to put all things in their proper perspective, especially the money with which You have entrusted us.
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