Saturday, October 9, 2021

Pentecost 20-Proper 23B


10 October 2021
Mark 10:17-22

So, what do you think of Jesus? Is He just one of many sages and prophets, a moral guide and influencer? Or, is he more? Through the Gospel, we shall see that Christ is the One, and only Savior by Whom you inherit Eternal life. It is only through mercy do we receive the gifts of God.

Enlighten our minds, we pray, O LORD, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that, as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all truth; LORD Jesus Christ, Bless Thy Word, that we may trust in Thee.

 The LORD is the Author and Giver of life, as well as a consuming fire of judgment against all, “who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.” (Amos 5:12)

Seek the LORD and live,” therefore, by hating what is evil, loving what is good, and doing what is just and right according to His Word. “And so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you.” (Amos 5:6, 14-15)

Know and understand that “no one is good except God alone.” (Mark 10:18) The life that you are called to live is found neither in your “great possessions,” nor in your good works - but only in Christ alone.

This rich young man was off in his thinking from the very start. He asks, “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 this man that he could not earn his salvation by directing him to the commandments.

Yet this young man persisted in his self-righteousness. He proclaims that he had kept them all from his youth.

Still Jesus looked on him with love and compassion. He sees him as a wayward wandering sheep. He directs the man to the First Commandment by asking him to give up all he had. Yet, he walked away sorrowful; he loved the things of this world more than the things of God.

How can a person enter into the Kingdom? Not on your own merits. For with man it is impossible. But all things are possible with God.  

As Jesus was setting out on his journey, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” v.17

This man comes to Jesus respectively. But not reverently. “Kneeling,” is not always worshipful.  He has nothing to give in reverent repentance. He approaches Jesus as an equal. Thinking they were both “good.” He takes a knee in front of his life coach.

Why are you calling me good? Jesus asks. “No one is good except God.” The Savior point to the one thing the man lacks. The Savior teaches, “You are not good but God is.”

To be in the presence of God is to be in the need of confession and faith.  What is lacking in this young man’s life? There is no evidence of contrition.  

The Savior direct the man to examine his life through the mirror and lens of the LORD’s holy Law. “The commandments, you know them…”Jesus then begins to enumerate the commandments beginning with the fifth; “Do not murder,” “Do not commit adultery,” sixth Commandment. Commandment seven, “Do not steal,” and Commandment eight, “Do not bear false witness. 

When addressing sin the Savior is always specific and direct. With lazar focused precision Jesus directs his attention to the task in front of him; addressing the young man’s transgression and sin. Without skipping a beat, the Savior circles back, “Do not defraud…Honor your father and mother.’”

The man had much wealth. Yet he had deceived and swindled his parents with defraud exploitation.

The Savior refuses to mince words. He reads the intentions of man’s heart. “Be on your guard against the scribes who like to walk around in their long robes, and love to be greeted as important people in the town square. And want to have special chairs in the meetinghouse, and the place of honor at dinner parties, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”   Luke 20:46-37

Still the Savior looked on him with compassion. He loved him. “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Jesus directs the man to the First Commandment by asking him to give up all he had.

The man walked away sorrowful. Not because of his wealth. But because he persisted in his self-righteousness; equating his wealth with his devotion and fidelity.  He associated the abundance of his possessions as a clear mark of faith. He loved the things of this world more than the things of God.

How can any person enter the Kingdom of God? Not on his own merits, for with man it is impossible. Yet all things are possible with God. That’s why we believe and confess, “Who for us men and our salvation Christ came down from heaven.”

We need to remember, that there was a nativity.  Jesus entered time and space to be human just like you.

In that Bethlehem manger, the Son of God didn’t just insert Himself into human activities. He inserted Himself in the grittiness of human flesh. He was also a person who knew pain and anger. He became angry Himself on occasions, and ultimately was the victim of anger.

This life that you live. Your struggles. Your anger. Your weakness. Your woes.  Your sorrows - your Lord knows all. Even your joys exactly. Because He became a man.

The coming of Jesus into our world changes everything. For we do not have a God who was too proud to know His people. Or, a God content to rule from a great distance. Or, a God whose majesty was too awesome for us to behold. We have just the opposite. Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph, experienced the very same humanity, the very same problems, and the very same challenges that you do.

No, you do not walk this road alone. Jesus is the God who came down from heaven. He was that man. “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Surely, he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds, we are healed.  – Isaiah 53:3-5

Where is your confidence? In whom will you trust? Trust not in princes they are but mortal. Trust not in yourself. Rather, pay attention to the clear words, and the gentle voice of your Good Shepherd, Jesus, who says, “All that which the Father gives me shall come unto me; and he that comes to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37

With the Psalmist, we confess and believe; “Trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. You, who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield.” Psalm 115:10-11

Passive Sentences –1%
Readability –82.6%
Reading Level – 4.2

[1] Luther’s Seal copyright © Ed Riojas Higher Things

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