by Pastor Chris Peria
Have you ever read a passage of scripture a thousand times and when you read it again, you realize you have been missing something all along? Me too. That’s why I am so excited about sharing this passage with you. There have been several times that I have read the passage in Mark 10. Usually we comment about when Jesus tells the man to sell all he has to follow him.
I was reading this passage Sunday night before our evening service and one particular phrase jumped off the page as I read it. Verse 21 says, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said…” Did you catch that? It tells us that Jesus loved him! Before we get to that and the implications that has for us, let’s look at why that matters and how we got to that point in the text.
Notice that in verse 17, we find the man running to Jesus. It seems his intentions are sincere and genuine. We also find that he calls Jesus “Good Master”. Again, this sounds good. However, as we delve into the meaning behind that term, we find that he is referring Jesus as just another good teacher. Jesus is more than a good teacher! The Bible says in Matthew 7:21-22, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?? That is powerful stuff. Notice verse 23 continues… “And I will profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” See that? “…depart from me, I never knew you”. That sounds kinda strong coming from Jesus. It sure doesn’t sound like our normal church meetings of inclusion and “lets all just get along.” Just because someone acknowledges that Jesus is God or that Jesus is the Messiah, does not mean that they have surrendered their life to Him. Jesus expresses to this man that to follow him means to be His disciple. Jesus wants everything. It is going to cost us everything to be His disciple. It was common for ancient teachers to have disciples similar to apprentices in the 1700’s. These men would give their life to teach their apprentices and to impart to them wisdom from their trade. Jesus wanted disciples to follow Him.
After Jesus questions why he has called him good, He tells him to to do the 10 commandments. Why is that so significant? Because he is trying to show the man that the law itself proves we cannot keep the law. We are reminded that not only are we to physically follow the law, but we are to go beyond that. Jesus tells us later that not only are we not to commit adultery, but even to lust in our heart is as if we have committed adultery. Jesus is showing this man that the law has not been kept. What is the man’s response? Verse 20 he says, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” Do you see the religion in this? How many people today say to us, “Oh, I go to church”, Or, “Oh, yeah, I’m a Christian. I go to church services all the time.” Or even worse, “Yes, I have said a prayer and even been baptized.” There is nothing wrong with praying or being baptized, but if they were just steps or motions to check off a list, then we have a major problem. What has happened, is we have turned everything in the modern church movement into a program that needs to be completed. Once the program is complete, we put someone in the data-base as “saved”, and then we put them on a ministry list or a ministry team and they are “good”. Being a disciple means more than just taking time out of our busy schedule to show up for church. As a follower of Christ, we must come to the place that we completely follow Him. We need to make sure we are making true disciples and not turning people into religious robots who know the latest lingo.
That brings us to verse 21. This is the verse I referred to earlier. We always jump to the part that says for the rich young man to sell all his possessions. But we skip something. We skip the part that explains the heart of why Jesus said that in the first place. We skip the part that enables Jesus to say that. The beginning of the verse says, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him...” Wait! When did this passage start saying that! Jesus loved him. This does not mean that Jesus watered down the message. In fact, I can imagine his disciples looking at him with a stunned look. Here was a rich, young guy who was running at Jesus. Here comes reinforcements, I can here Peter saying. Finally, a guy with some money to make things more comfortable for us, says another disciple. Nope. Jesus tells him to sell it all, give it to the poor, then follow me. Yet, before that happens our text says Jesus loved him. Do the people around you know that you love them genuinely? Do they just think you are trying to get them in your “religion”? Do they see that all you care about is changing them because they are wrong, or do you genuinely love them? This passage convicted me. It reminded me that Jesus loved me while I was in sin. Sin that sent him to death for me. All for me and me alone. There is no doubt he loves us, yet this passage shows us the human side to this love.
Even more stunning is verse 22. Two words stick out to me: Sad and grieved. He went away sad and grieved. It does not say he left offended. It does not say he went away unsure. It does not say he went away confused. It says sad and grieved. He was not willing to pay the price to be a disciple of Jesus. That is a heavy thought. We take our following of Jesus really lightly. We act like we are suffering for Jesus if our church auditorium is too warm or the pews are not padded. We think if the preaching is about “our sin”, we are being persecuted. Jesus loved him. Do we love the people around us? Do they know it? This rich, young man left Jesus sad and grieved because he was not willing to pay the price to follow Christ, but he knew the cost and he was not willing to pay it. Is Jesus your Master? Not just a good master, but The Master? Do the people around you see your genuine love for them? We need to begin showing the love of Christ to others so they can make a decision for Christ with all the information. Their eternity literally hangs in the balance.
Lets show the world the love of Christ. Lets show them that they are more than just a number in a data-base. Lets show them the same love that Christ showed us.