Mark 10:17-27

“You lack one thing.”

In our wealthy culture, we tend to brush by these words of Jesus. We quickly move on to easier words like, “Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” or “Take my yoke upon you….and you will find rest for your souls…. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” David Garland in his commentary on Mark argues, “Many believe that lacking one thing should be close enough, particularly if God grades on a curve.” Not sure God grades that way.

Jesus speaks to you and me about our relationship with our money and our resources more than almost any other issue in the Gospels. In our text, Jesus tells us that how we use our finances in this life is rewarded with “treasurers in heaven” and effect our welcome to “enter the kingdom of heaven.” In our very materialistic focused culture, these words are almost offensive even to many Christians. So, if we are to take Jesus seriously then how might we rightly hear these verses and so be transformed.

First, lets just make sure we hear what Jesus is saying and what Jesus is not saying about worldly wealth and riches.

Second, we will do well to avoid finding some line of interpretation that lets us off the hook when Jesus demands we sell all we have.

Third, face up to the radical demand Jesus makes for us to free ourselves from the power of wealth and possessions.

Then, fourth, avoid at all cost working to make Jesus’ words applicable to someone else and not to us.

Fifth and final for this discussion, work hard to discover specifically what about our wealth and possessions Jesus is warning us about so that we might do to live more fully under God’s Rule or in God’s Kingdom.

Before you read Mark 10:17-27, here is one more piece of information that will help you interpret these verses. Jesus is very much like the rich young man. This is likely why we are told in Mark 10:21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Like the young man, Jesus is powerful and a leader. Like the young man, Jesus has great wealth as God-the-Son and in his closeness to God-the-Father. Like the young man, Jesus will be asked to give up much for the Kingdom. As the young man walks away, Mark tells us (Mark 10:22a), “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” A better translation for this Greek verb translated “face fell” is “grieving.” Take a look at Mark 14:34. There Jesus is deeply “grieved.” This Greek adjective has the same root as the above Greek verb. Jesus and the rich young man are both “grieved.” What does Mark want us to see here? What does this say to you and me about entering into the Kingdom and storing treasures in Heaven?

See you Sunday.

AMEN for now.

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