January 3, 2022 – Mark 10: 17-30 – What if Jesus Was Serious?

Today we are reading from Mark 10: 17-30:

17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is 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 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

Some of the better books I’ve read recently are by one of my favorite Christian authors Skye Jethani.  They are about “What is Jesu was Serious?”  One is about prayer and one is about church.  I really like that concept.  What if Jesus was serious.  

What if He really meant it when He said we have to love our enemies?  

What if He really meant it when He said that we have to turn the other cheek?

I mean, what if He was serious?  How would it change our lives if we really believed that He meant this stuff?  

Take our passage today.  Jesus tells the rich young man to sell all he had, give it to the poor and follow Him.  Then He tells the disciples it is harder for a camel to fit through the eye of the needle than for the rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven.  

We read those passages and we say, “well, what Jesus means is for to put nothing ahead of Him, and for this young man, he put His possession ahead of Jesus.  We have to put nothing ahead of Jesus.” 

And by the way, that’s right. That’s a correct interpretation.  But, let’s stop for a minute and think about what it would look like if we really took seriously the corrosive impact that worldly possession can have upon us.  

Do we truly, truly, truly desire spiritual peace or earthly possessions?  Be honest. Don’t give the church answer, give the honest one. 

I know for me, I worry more about money and the future more than I worry about anything.  I think more about our budget most days than I do asking myself how am I sharing the Good News?  

Do we worry more about being faithful in this world, or being faithful to Jesus?  Only one of these choices will give us peace, real peace.  If we gain the world but lose our soul, what have we gained?  

And the truth is all of us reading this (on our phones or computers) are blessed beyond measure. We have so much.  How do we use it? 

We are all like the rich young man.  How will resolve in 2022 to use what God has given us?  

We have all been given so very much.  May we trust in God, completely and totally, in all things. And use all that He has given us for His glory.  

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