MARK 10 : 1 - 31
New International Version (NIV)
10 Jesus then left that place and went into the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Again crowds of people came to him, and as was his custom, he taught them.
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
The Little Children and Jesus
13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said 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 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Mark 10 is rich with spiritual truth. Too often people focus on the letter of the law and specific accepted doctrine of the day, but forget that under every action God searches the heart and motives of why we are doing what we do. The first two sections of this chapter talk about divorce and Jesus rebuking the disciples for hindering the children who were coming up to Him. He dealt with the inner heart attitude - the concept of hardness of heart and lack of compassion.
Later on, the chapter goes on to talk about the story of a rich young ruler (verse 17 – 31). Here, Jesus is again focusing on heart attitudes. This is the story that I want to focus on as we go through this devotional. This story has always intrigued me, because it has been spoken about in what I would call “religious terms” and not “spiritual terms”, because the chapter talks about money, wealth and the kingdom.
A rich young ruler comes to Jesus, kneels before Him, and asks, “Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit (obtain) Eternal Life?“ Jesus makes an important statement here. He asked him, “Why do you call me Good? God alone is Good.” Wow! Jesus is indirectly claiming His deity. I will make this statement, “God is Good” - because everything He does is for our benefit even when it is at His expense. So, Jesus' responses to the rich young ruler was all for His benefit.
Jesus starts a conversation with the young man and tells Him about keeping all the commandments, and the young man said that he has kept them from his youth. His response was interesting, since no one has kept all the commandments except Jesus. We all have sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God. Jesus looked at him, and it is fascinating that the writers got the impressions from Jesus’ look, that He loved him. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall and a caught a gaze at Jesus’s eyes as He looked at the rich young ruler and communicated love with just the look of His eyes.
I am sure Jesus could have pointed out a situation in which He didn’t keep all the commandments, but again He is more concerned about the heart of man and the motives of man. Jesus went right to the heart of the matter - he loved his money more than God. When you love money more than God, you will do things to keep and expand your money, and sooner or later the methods you employ will be done at the expense of another - whether by cheating or taking advantage of people. You may think as to how I know this - because man is sinful and has been separated from God, and it is a matter of time before the actions of sin come out. This is how Jesus pointed out that He really did not keep all the commandments.
Jesus told him how he can accumulate treasures in Heaven. Jesus was pointing out His way to eternal life and life in the kingdom. He would have found out that that way would have led to eternal life and more of what he had on earth, if he has listened to Jesus and did not walk away.
Neither the rich young ruler nor the disciples understood the Kingdom principals of giving and loving God and how in doing that, we lay treasures in heaven that can be withdrawn and experienced in earth as in heaven.
The rich young ruler went away saddened. Then Jesus made a statement, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God”. Notice the disciple’s response - they were “AMAZED AT HIS WORDS” - meaning, they were astonished or dumbfounded. Then Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Then they were “GREATLY ASHTONISHED”, or to say in modern English “they were blown away”. It is like a picture of being surprised by someone slapping you on your face, and then you ask them why they did that, and they slap you on the other cheek.
The disciples then asked, “Who then can be saved?” Why did they say that? - Because they were Jews, they knew the Tora and that it is said “ in Deut 8:18 “But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.” The Jews knew that wealth was part of the covenant blessing.
Jesus then tells them that all those who give up anything for Him, will in this life receive hundred fold back, plus Eternal Life in the next age, which was the new covenant when Jesus died and rose again.
Lord, help us to see this truth as we mediate on this. Show us where our heart is at. Do we withhold our wealth? Are we withholding our talents? Are we willing to give? Are we willing to give to You the things we hold most dear? God, we pray that you would reveal the motives of our hearts with regards to money and wealth. Help us and grant us grace not to run away as the rich young ruler, but come to you and ask for grace to change and give as you would give. Father, grant us faith and patience like Abraham, who though faith and patience inherited the promise. Amen.
We believe that as we do this, the windows of heaven will open and the treasures of heaven will flow to provide for us and others, and we will experience eternal life, the knowledge and the revelation of the Holy one, which is greater than any earthly riches we can have.
We want God to thrust us into the harvest field, loving our neighbors, sharing the Gospel, and discipling people.