This morning, Jesus is setting out again on a journey. As He is preparing to leave a man runs up and kneels at Jesus’ feet and asks a question that most of us have heard in one form or another when sharing the gospel with others. Take a moment to read today’s passage through the lens of sharing the gospel with a lost world.
Do we not hear this cry ring out throughout our society today, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” I know that it may not come out blatantly in the midst of the many conversations we have with co-workers, friends, or family, but it is inside them and they are seeking for an answer. And just like the man kneeling before Jesus, they have sought after the wrong thing.
Jesus questions the man regarding whether or not he knows the commandments:
“Do not murder;
Do not commit adultery;
Do not steal;
Do not bear false witness;
Do not defraud;
Honor your father and mother.” (v. 19)
The man’s response reveals his belief that if he did good, he would have eternal life; yet, as he watched Jesus and His ministry, he knew there was still something he was missing. When sharing the gospel, we often get the same reply to the question, “if you were to die today, would you go to heaven?” The response is typically, “I don’t know. I’m a pretty good person.” But being a pretty good person does not let you have eternal life.
Jesus tells the man, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come, follow Me.” (Mark 10:21)
One receives eternal life through abandoning all things, money, status, relationships, possessions, everything and following Christ. When one fully surrenders their whole life to Christ and receives the work Christ did on the cross for the forgiveness of one’s sin, then eternal life is given.
The man was not willing to give up his material wealth to follow Christ. Jesus tells the disciples that it is extremely hard for the wealthy to enter into the kingdom of God but “Nothing is impossible with God, because all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27). We must not give up sharing the gospel with ALL people because God is able to move on ANY heart in order for them to enter into the kingdom of God.
Following this encounter and lesson to the disciples, we see Peter question his own salvation with the statement, “Look, we have left everything and followed You” (Mark 10:28). Jesus assures him that eternal life plus 100 times more will be given to anyone who forsakes possessions, relationships, and wealth in order to follow Christ. (Don’t forget to also see that it will come with persecutions, verse 30b.) Addressing the disciples again, Jesus restates His lesson regarding the first will be last and the last will be first (Mark 10:31) as we saw in Moment 20: Bringing God Glory.
Today is the day of salvation for all who believe and forsake all things. Today is also the day for believers to be challenged with these words:
“So, what is keeping you and me from true life? In what do we trust rather than God? What do we pursue other than authentic righteousness? Whatever it might be, get rid of it. It isn’t worth it. Whatever you have to give up in order to be a true disciple of Jesus, give it up. You will receive infinitely more from the giver of life.
Lord, give me the courage to admit I have false gods. Teach me to turn away from them that I might find life in you” (Lavender, 99).