As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” Mark 10:17-27
CONSIDER:I tend to be a rule follower. My husband…not so much. When we first started dating, we decided to take my daughters to one of our local theme parks. Upon exiting a ride, we noticed a door marked “employees only”. Now when I see a door that says “employees only”, I abide by the unspoken rule that if you are not an employee, you are not allowed to open the door. Not my husband. No, much to my astonishment he walked right up to that clearly marked door, opened it, and looked inside! I was mortified! What was he doing?!? In my mind, he was breaking the law! (Yes…I was that kid in school as well…obeying every rule and wanting everyone else to do the same). I remember being so upset with him because I thought that by his actions he was teaching my girls it was okay to disobey the rules. I remember asking him WHY he would do such a thing. His was a very simple answer: “That doesn’t mean me. I just wanted to know what was behind the door.” I have to be honest and tell you that was almost our last date. I was so careful to follow the rules that I wasn’t sure if I could handle a relationship with such a rebel! This story speaks more about how bound up I was than about how much a rebel my husband is. (He’s really not a rebel at all!) I felt I needed to be perfect so that I would be accepted. Accepted by my peers, my parents, those in authority, but most of all, by God. I was a lot like this man in today’s scripture who spent his life obeying all of the commandments in an effort to earn eternal life. Then suddenly Jesus turns everything he thought he knew upside down.
Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21“Come, follow me”. The scripture tells us that Jesus felt genuine love for this man. He wasn’t trying to trick him. He wanted a relationship with him. While obeying God’s commandments was a good thing, it meant nothing if the man refused to follow Jesus. You see, God’s law wasn’t given to save us. The purpose of the law was to show us our need for a Savior. The law actually revealed our sin.
Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham. Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:19:22Jesus knew that it is impossible for any of us to successfully fulfill every letter of the law. We are not saved by obedience to the law. This means that it is impossible for us to become a part of God’s kingdom through our own effort. As Jesus explained this to the disciples they received their first glimpse of this truth and it astounded them. For they knew how far they were from keeping God’s law. If this was true, how could anyone be saved? Jesus then looked at them intently to make sure they understood the importance of what He was getting ready to say…They can’t do it! Nobody can do it…But God can! What is impossible for us, God makes possible through His son, Jesus. Because Jesus lived a perfect life and gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for us, now there is a way! Jesus came and made the impossible…possible. He made the way for every one of us to enter the Kingdom of God. This truth freed me. Do I still want to follow the rules? Yes. But the reason for my obedience is completely different now. No longer do I obey out of a desperate need for acceptance. Now I obey out of love for the Savior who walks beside me. I have a relationship with the One who freed me and I want to follow Him because I love Him. Because I am loved and accepted, I have discovered grace and mercy that I am free to extend to others as well. I probably still wouldn’t open a door marked “employees only”. But I can now readily extend grace to my husband when he doesn’t follow the “rules” as I see them. Makes me happy I said “yes” to that next date…
PRAY:Jesus…All was lost and it looked like there was no way to win. Satan thought he had it made. Mankind seemed lost for good. They rejected God. They failed in their attempts to follow the law. Then you came and lived as one of us and changed everything! Thank you for making the impossible…possible!
Michele is married to the love of her life, Jeff. She has 3 grown children and 1 very sweet grandson! Most days you can find Michele laughing with good friends, writing, or working with women. In the evenings she enjoys spending time in a few creative outlets like creative lettering, drawing, painting, and stained glass. She loves snuggling with her dog, Tebow, and reading. But one of her favorite passions is playing with her grandson and laughing at his bright smile! You can find her most weekends worshiping at our Real Life Clermont campus.