Mark 10:17-31 (1)
“Give everything to the poor and follow Jesus”
Reading: Mark 10:17-31
Blanks: God, honor, loved, sell, all, come
(2) A rich ruler ran to Jesus.
Then when he came, he fell on his knees and asked to Jesus:
“Good teacher, what good thing must I do to inherit eternal life?”
He was interested in what is good, because he thought if he does what is good, he would have eternal life.
So he wanted to do what is good.
(3) But Jesus was like:
“Why do you call me good?
No one is good, but God alone.”
Jesus is God.
And Jesus is good.
So this young man can call Jesus “good teacher.”
But this young man didn’t know yet that Jesus is God.
So Jesus said that he should not call him “good teacher” yet.
He can call him like that after he know that Jesus is God.
So, first, Jesus is pointing out that only God is good and no one else is good enough.
No human being is good enough for God.
No human being can reach God’s goodness.
So people can have eternal life by God’s grace.
There is no other way around.
That is, eternal life is not something that we can earn by doing what is good.
It is a free gift from God.
God gives it freely in the name of Jesus.
So no one can boast that they earn eternal life, because we all receive it for free by faith.
Everyone receives it for free by faith.
In this way, we have eternal life.
Even Brother Roger, Mother Teresa or Gandhi could not be good enough to have eternal life by their own power.
We all receive eternal life by the grace of God, through faith, for free.
But then Jesus wanted to point out something more.
So Jesus mentioned 5 of Ten Commandment:
“God asks people to keep God’s commandments: that is,
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not give false testimony.
Honor your father and mother.
Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus knew what to emphasize for him.
So Jesus didn’t mention about other list of Ten Commandment.
Here Jesus only mentioned about loving one's neighbors.
That is, Jesus is asking him to love his neighbors.
(3) But then the young man was like:
“I love my neighbors.
I have kept those commandments.
Is that all?”
According to his standard, he was fine.
He knew that this was a great achievement.
(2) Then Jesus loved him.
Then Jesus was like:
“If you want to be perfect, then be my disciple.
But before becoming my disciple, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.
Give everything to the poor.
Try to love them this much.
Then come, follow me.
I will show you the truth.”
Jesus asked him to be his student and traveled with him.
Jesus didn’t offer this to everyone.
Jesus only offered this to those whom he wanted to carry on his ministry: for example, Peter, John, Andrew and other disciples.
But for this man, there was a precondition.
He needed to give 100% of his wealth to the poor.
He had to let go of all his money.
In this way, he would have all his hope and money and treasure in heaven.
Jesus was challenging him to love his neighbours more than his money.
Jesus was challenging him to love God enough and give all to the poor, God’s poor.
Then Jesus was challenging him to follow him and live the life of Jesus.
Then one day, he might accept Jesus as the Son of God.
Then he might gain so much more because he gave all away.
As for eternal life, he would receive as a gift.
In those days, people believed that God gave money and wealth to those who obey God well.
So this man worked hard for it.
And he was good at it.
He thought that he received all these wealth and possessions from God.
He might have thought that God was blessing him to have all these riches and authority.
So he even ready to work harder to gain more.
He wanted to train himself to gain more.
So he even came to Jesus to get eternal life as well.
But Jesus was asking him to go beyond.
Go beyond this mentality of having more and more and more.
It sounds like a teaching of Buddhism, isn’t it?:
“If you want to truly live, abandon everything and detach from it.”
But, Jesus is calling him to follow him into this unknown.
That is a challenge.
Jesus is asking him to listen and obey and start a new life.
But he had never thought about giving all away.
He had never heard anything like this.
He might have given ten percent of his wealth to the poor.
This young man was not ready to give all away.
(3) But Jesus seems to say:
“With your money and wealth, you cannot follow me.”
(3) So, he went away, because he was not ready to give everything to the poor, and then follow Jesus.
Jesus didn’t need his money.
Jesus didn’t ask for his money.
Jesus didn’t ask him to give money to build his temples or churches.
Instead, Jesus believed if he let go of things, he would be able to see more clearly.
Then Jesus could guide them to do God’s ministry.
So, Jesus asked him to give all away to the poor and follow him.
Jesus didn’t ask this to everyone.
Some students of Jesus didn’t sell everything and give to the poor.
But, sometimes Jesus asks people to leave everything and follow him.
Jesus called them to live just like him.
For the continuation of his ministry, Jesus is asking them to:
“Give all away and then follow me.”
So, no one can say:
“I cannot follow you Jesus because I don’t have any money.”
Or, “I cannot serve God because I don’t have money.”
(3) After this, Jesus said something like this to his other students:
“It is really hard for the rich to follow me, because they have so much to give away.
In fact, it is impossible for everyone.
Even those who have little may struggle in giving all up for God.
But God can help.
So, depend on God.
It is possible with God.”
(3) Then Peter said that they gave up everything and followed Jesus.
That is right.
(3) Then Jesus was like:
“Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for me and for my gospel, will receive a hundred times as much in this age —along with persecutions— and will inherit eternal life in the coming age.”
Remembering these saying of Jesus, many have given up everything for God.
Many left everything and obeyed God.
That is, they were able to love their neighbors in the power of God.
Jesus used their lives to help so many people.
Jesus continually helps them.
Then God used them to change history of this world.
Sometimes, God is calling people to love their neighbors this much.
God is calling them to give all to the poor and follow Jesus.
Then, if they cannot let go of things, they cannot follow God.
Sometimes, only if we let go of things, we may have a chance to know more of God.
If we give to the poor, we may be able to see more clearly.
We may see Jesus as our God.
So Jesus guides us and teaches us to give to the poor, so that we may be able to follow God.
Then we may live like Jesus for others.
Then we may be able to live like Jesus.
We may learn God’s intention for our lives.
We may learn to love people and love God.
Then we may have true wealth and true prosperity.
Then we may enjoy eternal life.
(3) I know a young man who felt called to be a pastor.
But his mother told him something like this:
“Don’t be a pastor because then you will be poor.”
Jesus might have asked this young man to follow Jesus and experience God.
Jesus wanted him to learn more of God’s truth.
Jesus wanted him to understand God who is kind and gentle.
Jesus wanted him to trust in God who is good and merciful.
Then God may use him to bless so many people.
Then he could teach others about this God.
But his inner mother was saying:
“Don’t do that because then you will be poor.”
If you think about this, one day we will all die.
We will all die and give up everything and go to heaven and experience God.
Anyway, today, Jesus asked this young man to love God and love his neighbors in the way of Jesus.
Jesus may be trying to persuade some of us to live like Jesus.
Jesus may ask us to give everything to the poor, and follow him.
Jesus asks this, because he loves them and wants to guide them well.
When we receive this calling, may we trust in Jesus enough to follow his calling.
May God help us.
Jesus, you are enough for us.
Help us to love people and the poor, God’s poor.
Help us to give to the poor.
Help us to follow you in your own way.
Help us to love you and serve you through our life.
In Jesus name, we pray.