“As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?”Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.” He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!” Mark 10:17-27

He saw Jesus walking down the street.  This was his chance to ask him one question.  It probably had been plaguing him for a while.  He could ask Jesus about anything, but he wanted his question to count.  When he saw Jesus, something compelled him to run up to him.  He didn’t want to miss it.  The question just kind of came out.  What were the requirements for eternal life?  He knew if he could keep the requirements, then he would not have to worry.

However, Jesus not only confronted his question, he questioned the man’s title imposed on him.  Good Teacher.  Jesus knew that for this man to have eternal life, he would have to recognize that Jesus was God.  Then, Jesus told him to keep the commandments of the Bible.  The reply of the man must have startled a couple of people on the street.  This man had kept every commandment from his youth.  In the world’s eyes, this man needed promoted to receive the religious person of the year award.  This man thought he had kept it all together.

Imagine the relief.  The man thought he was going to be guaranteed eternal life.  However, he didn’t anticipate Jesus next statement.

21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.”The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

There was only one more thing the man had to do.  If he could do the one thing, his life question would be resolved.  He needed to let go of the stuff he was holding on to, so he could follow Jesus.  The people around him in the street must have been excited for him.  This guy was almost there.  It seemed so simple.  Let go of all the stuff and follow Jesus.

The man had knots in his stomach. He couldn’t believe it.  Jesus was supposed to just applaud him and tell everyone to be like him.  He was supposed to sell everything?  He didn’t see it coming.  Bewildered, he left in a daze.  He couldn’t sell everything.  The things in this man’s life were crowding out his ability to see clearly.  He didn’t stop and think that God would bless him even more through his obedience.  To him, it just seemed like he would have to give up everything, and get nothing in return.  The stuff in his life had taken hold of him, and he couldn’t release them from his hand.

23-27Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, “Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who ‘have it all’ to enter God’s kingdom?” The disciples couldn’t believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: “You can’t imagine how difficult. I’d say it’s easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for the rich to get into God’s kingdom.” That set the disciples back on their heels. “Then who has any chance at all?” they asked.  Jesus was blunt: “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off by yourself. Every chance in the world if you let God do it.”

To the disciples, this man had it all.  He was religious; he was wealthy; he had it all.  Jesus knew that the accumulation of stuff in this man’s heart did not leave room for a relationship with God.  Jesus, then, used an illustration to say that on man’s own ability, it is impossible.  The disciples couldn’t understand.  If the man who had it all could not obtain eternal life, then they were in trouble.

Jesus’ response was two-fold.  First, anyone who tries to be saved through good works, wealth, or religion, will fail.  However, there is hope.  Everyone has an opportunity for eternal life if they allow God to save them.  The disciples must have been relieved.  Jesus offered them hope.

Jesus offers everyone hope for eternal life through faith in him.  Let go of the ‘stuff’ in your life and follow Jesus. Don’t try to hold on to things in your life so tightly.  You will find that you gain more by letting go!


Thank you to all of our faithful readers.  Hope you are encouraged and inspired.

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