MARK 10:17- 31 – The Rich Young Man
Today’s reading finds a person who approaches Jesus and asks the direct question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Millions of people would love to know.
The answer is right there … yep there … in the Book … over there … the closed one on the book shelf. Yeah that’s it … careful … blow off the dust … head to Mark chapter 10 …
The problem with the question is that there is an answer. It isn’t a mystery – a way to eternal life really exists. However it is an answer created and upheld by God and sometimes we don’t like the whole answer.
Please note that to get the truth of how to inherit eternal life, a real person asked the real God … the real question. This guy didn’t head for the synagogue, or the wise men, or even the Ten Commandments.
For those of us who are severely less than perfect, it is a daunting idea to approach God with our questions. The Father knows us, we are human – frightened – proud – wanting our own ideas. So He sent His Son – to show us the way. Seeking answers for our life is all about having a relationship with Him.
So enter our young man who by the way is wealthy and from his conversation with Jesus, he is a very good person. How wise of him to realize that his own goodness wasn’t going to be sufficient for eternal life. Seriously how do folks think they can match God’s holiness?
So what was the answer?
Jesus gives the young man three things:
Being obedient to God
Letting go of his life
Then come and follow Me
Don’t everyone start yelling at once that salvation is by grace not works … calm down.
God is not bestowing grace on someone who is disobedient, clutches his own life and turns his back on Jesus.
What Jesus gave the young guy were the keys to a real relationship, one formed in Spirit and in truth. As Jesus points out later to His disciples … the guy could never do it on his own. But with God … all things are possible.
Including stubborn sinners and “good” people (who are also sinners) unclutching their lives and entering a relationship with the Savior.
Much is made of the fact that the rich young man goes away sad … “because he had great wealth”.
I think that is normal.
We count the cost …
Letting go of our life (and lifestyle)
Doing things the way Jesus says is the right way
Turning the other cheek
Things belong to Him
Yes we speak the words and ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior … to forgive our sins … that’s what entering the relationship looks like.
Then we look at our lives and release them to Him. If He wants the money, the things, changes in what we do … whatever … we let go day by day. Life and what defines who we are … changes as we walk with Him. The relationship.
I have always thought the rich young man was sad because he was going to obey and it looked like it was going to be hard. But then I imagine he met up with Jesus later – empty -handed and humble – only to find there were tremendous treasures he had never imagined waiting for him.
So how do we inherit eternal life?
A relationship is the only way.
With God through His Son Jesus – in Spirit and in truth
Putting down our life and taking up His
Obeying God and walking behind Jesus … no backpacks allowed.