Jump Start # 2416
Mark 10:21 “And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack; go and sell all your possessions and give it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and come, follow Me.”
Our verse today is the conversation between a wealthy young man and Jesus. You and I are allowed to witness this conversation. There are many things that are remarkable about this meeting.
First, this young man some how and in some way accumulated much wealth. Luke tells us that he was a ruler. Did he inherit his wealth? Did he bust it as a young man and do well in business? Did his position come with much wealth? It’s not too often that you find young age and wealth together. That is often a deadly combination. Young athletes, fresh out of college, offered millions to play in the pros. Without guidance and wisdom, too many go on a wild spending spree and when the money runs out, they are in trouble. There have been many lottery winners that have ended up bankrupt. He was young and he had a lot.
Second, he came to Jesus with a question. His question is the best question that any one could ask. In his position, he might have asked Jesus a financial question, but he was the rich ruler and Jesus was the poor teacher. He may have asked how to live a long life. He could have asked how to be a better ruler. But his question was about eternal life. Not only did he ask the right question, the best question, but he asked the right person. He didn’t ask his parents. He didn’t ask his friends. He asked Jesus. This is why Jesus came, to save the lost. There’s not a better question to be asked and not a better person to ask it to.
Third, our verse today tells us that Jesus felt a love for him. This opens up a powerful thought for us. Jesus loved this person, yet he told him to sell all his possessions. That doesn’t sound loving to many people. Our culture today tells us that if you love me, you accept me as I am, agree with me and you say nothing negative about me. If you don’t, then you really do not love me. And, worse, you are prejudiced against me. Jesus loved, yet he said some things that he needed to hear. Jesus wasn’t hateful, prejudice, racist or any other term folks can think up. Jesus loves you, however He wants you to repent. Unless you repent, Jesus said, you will die in your sins. This is so backwards to our time. How can you love and say negative things? Our culture doesn’t understand love. If you really love someone you will care enough to help them and correct them. Accepting wrong is not love. Telling the truth is not hatred.
Fourth, what he was told to do was very difficult. He was told to liquidate it all and give it away. Sell all. Sell out. Jesus didn’t say, sell 50%. Jesus didn’t say, simply give more. Jesus said, sell all your possessions. Jesus noticed a heart problem. This man came to Jesus looking for approval. He was wanting a gold star on his paper. He was hoping Jesus would say that he already had eternal life. He was hoping Jesus would say, “You’re on the right track. Keep doing what you are doing.” Nope. That wasn’t the words of Jesus. Sell all. Give all. Then follow me.
Fifth, the young man grieved. He went away sad. One text says, “His face fell.” Now, some would say that it wasn’t nice for Jesus to make him sad. Jesus should have been nicer with him. The sadness was his own doing. It came about because he refused to do what Jesus said. You can’t be right with God and wrong with what God says. Not only was he sad, but he went away. He didn’t follow Jesus. He didn’t get the message he wanted, so he was finished with Jesus. He was disappointed with Jesus. You can imagine him telling everyone he knew that Jesus isn’t as great as you think He is. Disappointed. Sad. Frustrated. That’s how he left Jesus.
Sixth, we don’t know if he ever turned around. I suppose in eternity we will know. This wasn’t a story, but a real event. If he went home and thought about things and got his act together, we might bump into him in Heaven, but the way the Gospels end this, it sure wasn’t promising. That’s one of the disappointing things we find throughout the Bible and in life today. Someone comes face to face with truth and it will change them and help them, but they are not interested. It’s not what they wanted to hear. As the book of Acts ends, we are told that some would not believe what Paul was saying. Some are looking for approval, not change. Repentance just doesn’t fit in the language of some people.
We must see ourselves in the passage. This is where application is made. This is where truth intersects with our hearts. This is where the Bible makes a difference in our lives.
If you could have asked Jesus a question, what would it be? Would it be something silly and meaningless? Would it be just a curious fact that you were chasing? Or, would it be something that brings you closer to God? And, you and I get to ask those questions—it’s in prayer. It is in prayer that we get to talk to God. It is in prayer that we can ask for wisdom. It is in prayer that we can grow and connect with God.
And, what do we do when we find ourselves facing some tough Biblical truth? Do we, like this ruler, walk away? Do you argue with God? What about giving? What about forgiving? What about evil companions? What about divorce? What about setting your mind on things above? So many principles and so many truths. What do we do when God, through the Scriptures tells us the truth?
It’s hard to imagine walking away from Jesus sad. Jesus offers grace, hope and future. In Jesus there is forgiveness and Heaven. Jesus promises to be with us. Jesus wants us to cast all of our burdens upon Him. Jesus provides the tools to fight Satan and overcome wickedness. With Jesus we can make it. But walking away from Jesus sad? We ought to be racing towards Jesus with excitement and joy.
I wonder how many times we have done the same, walked away from Jesus rather than running towards Him? I wonder how many times we are sad rather than rejoicing and counting our blessings? I wonder how many times we go to Jesus to get just what we want rather than what we really need?
These events in the Gospels have a way of becoming our stories as well. Hopefully, we can learn…