The Gospel of Mark Chapter 10, v.17 (Want to dig deeper? Check out this podcast: 5 Things You Need to Know About Mark)
The Rich Man
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?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 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.’” 20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 21 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.” 22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 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!” 26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. 27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” 28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said. 29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
Jesus Again Predicts His Death
32 They were now on the way up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were filled with awe, and the people following behind were overwhelmed with fear. Taking the twelve disciples aside, Jesus once more began to describe everything that was about to happen to him. 33 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. 34 They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.”
About today's contributor . . . Emily is a long-time resident of Battery Park City and works for NYC Department of Education.
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What strikes me today from this passage is that Jesus says, “humanly speaking, it is impossible” in response to who can be saved or enter the kingdom of God. I find it oddly comforting that it is impossible on my own. I feel like where I often struggle in my faith is in being in partnership with or having a balance between me and God. I seem to either be fully relying on God or totally trying to handle everything through my own power. And I find that it is in times when I feel like I have nothing left, that I feel most comfortable relying on God (as if in times where I have any capability, I would be bothering him if I brought it to him instead of working it out on my own). I also love that the next two lines emphasize that anything is possible “with” God, this seems to affirm for me that it is about partnering with him.
After re-reading, the “giving up everything you have” pieces are also hitting me differently today than they usually do – usually this just seems completely impossible, overwhelming, and discouraging. Given my previous reflections I was thinking maybe I am supposed to ask God to help me with this. But today, how it is described in verse 29-30 makes it seem almost like a no-brainer – you give up a list of things and in exchange get the same list of things a hundred times over now plus eternal life. So it made me wonder, what is it about the act of giving everything up that helps us to connect with God? And I can’t help but see the parallel to those moments where I feel like I have nothing left, and those being the times that I feel like I am closest to God. Praying about this today.
What is standing out to you today? What do you feel God might be speaking to you through this passage?
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Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
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