Thursday, October 7, 2021

Friday prior to Proper 23


Mark 10:17–22—The rich young man was off in his thinking from the very start, when he asked, What must I do to inherit eternal life? Inheriting eternal life is not a matter of our doing; it is a gift of grace. Jesus tried to show the man that he could not earn his salvation, by directing him to the commandments. Yet, the young man persisted in his self-righteousness by proclaiming that he had kept them all from his youth.

Still, Jesus looked on him with love and compassion, as a wayward sheep. He directs the man to the First Commandment, by asking him to give up all he had. This young man loved the things of the world more than the things of God, and so he went away sorrowful.

How can any person enter the Kingdom of God? Not on his own merits, for with man it is impossible…but all things are possible with God.

This lesson deals with the power of wealth to keep one from entering the God’s kingdom and thereby inheriting eternal life. (v.25)  On the other hand, if wealth is secondary to Jesus, a rich man can enter the kingdom (v.27) The occasion for this teaching is a man (rich young ruler) who asks Jesus how he can receive eternal life, life not necessarily in the quantitative but in the qualitative dimension.

His kneeling shows that he really wants more than physical life he comes begging. Does he see Jesus as the Son of God because he calls Jesus “good”?  Jesus points out to him that only God is good. Though he obeys the commandments, he still does not have true life. Jesus perceives that his problem is wealth which keeps him from God, the Author of life. The man refuses to give up his wealth to follow Jesus and walks away from eternal life.

Look and love. How can we love if we do not see the person? Jesus looked at the young man and saw his fine qualities, eagerness for life and bright potential as a follower. Often someone asks, “What does he see in her?” He sees something he can love. Also, Jesus looked at his disciples when they were discussing the possibility of rigch people entering the kingdom. To get his point across, he looked at them. Look me in the eye when you say it and I will probably believe you![1]

Prayer for the proper use of wealth: Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.[2]-08 October 2021


[1] Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

[2] Collect for the proper use of wealth, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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