ONE THING YOU LACK!
As Jesus continues to make His way to Jerusalem, the cross is coming into view. And as we finish up in this section in Mark this evening, starting next time, Mark jumps ahead to a point in time where the cross is only 2 weeks away. The time of Jesus departure is fast approaching, and Jesus will continue to teach His men the things they will need to know after He is gone.
1. It was a common practice to bring the young children to the Rabbis to be blessed by them, and I think that is what we see here. As word gets out that Jesus is in town, people gather their children and they bring them to Jesus. I like that. I think that parents have that responsibility, to bring their children to Jesus, to show them His love for them, just as these parents were doing.
2. The one problem we see here is the disciples of Jesus tried to prevent this from happening. Maybe they were trying to protect Jesus from the crowds that were always trying to touch Him, but whatever the reason, their actions were wrong.
3. I wonder in our zeal to serve the Lord if we ever prevent or push people away? How do we do that? Maybe by our rules and regulations. I think we must be sensitive of where people are at so we might minister to them and not push them away from the Lord! People dont have to look like us, but we are to reveal to them Jesus, they are to see Jesus in us!
4. It is out of this incident that Jesus teaches His men an important lesson. He is telling them that this is what heaven is like, it is filled with people that have a child-like faith. What does that mean? It speaks of a total dependancy upon God. Think about a infant, they are totally dependant upon someone to feed them, burp them, change their diapers, carry them from one location to another. Infants are totally dependant! And Jesus is saying that we too must be dependant upon God as a child, trusting that He will provide for us all our needs, not necessarily our wants!
1. As Jesus is on His way again, heading towards Jerusalem, a rich young ruler comes running up to Him and falls on his knees, showing respect and honor to Jesus. And this question he asks Jesus is in the aorist tense, or it is an open-ended question speaking of something he could do to make his life complete. He had youth, he had money and he had power and he still was not satisfied. Something was still lacking in his life. He was aware of this problem and he saw in Jesus that He had that joy, that peace, that everlasting life, those things he was searching for, and he wanted it. All his life he had been searching for this answer, he wanted his life to be complete. And so his actions are very sincere, not like the religious leaders who asked Jesus all kinds of questions to catch Him and take Him down!
1. Jesus is trying to get him to understand what he was saying. Calling Jesus "teacher" was okay, it was a word that was used of Rabbis. But to call Jesus "good" was something that was only spoken of regarding God. So Jesus wants him to think about this. "Are you asking this question, are you calling Me good because you are saying that I am God, or are you just trying to butter Me up?" This guy was close to the kingdom of God. He was sincere in his desire to know the truth. The angels in heaven may have been putting on their party hats getting ready to shout for joy as he enters into the kingdom of God. That is how close he was!
2. Now this young man, who worked for what he had, is also applying this to eternal life. And Jesus is taking him one step at a time. In Matthew 19:17 Jesus tells this young man to keep the commandments, and he responds by saying, "Which ones?" And Jesus is going to tell him now.
1. Jesus quotes from the second table of the Law, those things that applied to mans relationship with man. You see, the first table of the Law, the first 4 commandments dealt with mans relationship with God. And Jesus speaks to this young man where he was at, external obedience, working his way into heaven!
1. Now this is not a proud or boastful statement by this young man, but it is the reality of what was being manifested in his life. He was kind, he helped others, he treated people fairly. He was basically a hard working and moral man. And the reason I say that, is we dont see Jesus come against his statement of keeping all these things. He was a nice guy, a kind man with good morals.
1. This man tried with all his heart to live a good life, and Jesus recognized that fact. And so Jesus looked upon him with great love for his desire to do good. But he missed the way and he knew it. That is why he came to Jesus in the first place. He had no assurance of eternal life. You see, in Matthew 19:20 we see this man respond to Jesus by saying, "...All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?" You see, he adds, "What do I still lack?" He wanted to know what was still missing in his life to give him that joy, that assurance of eternal life. Do you want to be complete? Do you want to be perfect? Jesus continues on and says...
1. Can you imagine how he felt when he heard Jesus say "One thing you lack!"? Im sure he was excited. He was almost there. One thing was standing in his way of eternal life. But that excitement, that anticipation of achieving that goal, of working his way into heaven was quickly silenced as Jesus puts His finger on the heart of the matter, on that one thing that was preventing him from eternal life!
2. Now dont get the idea that Jesus is saying we have to sell all our goods and give the money to the poor to get into heaven. He is not teaching a works salvation. Then what does He mean? First of all Jesus is telling this young man that he is doing good in his treatment of his fellow man. That he is fulfilling the second table of the Law. He has done a good job at treating people kindly, fairly, with love.
But it was not the second table of the Law that hindered this man, but the first table of the Law. It was his relationship with God that was preventing him from entering into that eternal life. You see, his money was his god. He loved it more than he loved God. Jesus put it this way in Luke 16:13, "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." That is what this man was doing, serving mammon or money, his riches! That was his god.
3. Jesus puts His finger on those things that keep us from eternal life. He wants what is best for us. You see, God wants to be first in your life. And like He said to this young man, He is saying to us with great love and great compassion! It is as I John 5:21 says, "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen." May we keep ourselves from those things that keep us from God!
1. This man came to Jesus with great expectations. He was excited to hear he only lacked one thing to enter into that eternal life. He came with great hope and left sad because he refused to let go of his god, money, material things. He refused to receive what Christ had for him because his stuff was more important to him than eternal life. He refused to receive that abundant life, that abundant joy that is found in Christ and went away in darkness. He left as he came only now he knew the truth but rejected it!
2. What happened to this rich young ruler? We dont know. We can only hope that he finally came to his senses and received Christ. But dont miss what Jesus is saying. He had every opportunity to turn to God, and yet he refused, he made the wrong choice. He was so close to eternal life. You see, it wasnt that he couldnt enter in, but he wouldnt!
1. At this point the disciples must have been standing there with their eyes wide open and their mouths hanging open. And Jesus blows them away even more. He tells them that it is hard, very difficult for a rich man to enter into that eternal life. Now in their mind they associated riches with the blessings of God. The richer you are the more you are blessed by God. But this teaching spoke differently.
2. The point that Jesus is making is you can trust in riches to the point where it gets in your way of salvation. Notice in verse 23 it speaks of "Those who HAVE riches" and in verse 24 "Those who TRUST in riches." The idea is first you have riches and then you begin to trust in them instead of the Lord. It is as Psalm 62:10 says, "Do not trust in oppression, nor vainly hope in robbery; if riches increase, do not set your heart on them." Money is not evil, but the love of money is!
1. Jesus just got done saying that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. It is hard to put thread through a needle, how can you get a camel through it? The only way I know is to puree him, and pour him through! But that is not what Jesus was speaking of. He was saying that it is impossible and this shook the disciples. Who can be saved then? And Jesus tells them you cant do it on your own, you cant work your way into heaven, but it is only through God!
1. Peter once again is thinking of material honors. "That rich young ruler couldnt do it, but look at what I have done. I left everything for you!" And, in a sense, that was true. Peter gave up his fishing business to follow the Lord. Im sure many of his friends wanted nothing to do with him when he became a Jesus freak. And God is going to explain to Peter you really dont lose anything if you serve Him.
1. When you give to God He will give back to you. You cant serve others without getting something back, some blessing that God has for you. And even if you got nothing in this life for following Jesus, when this life is over you will still enter into eternity with Him. You never lose putting Jesus first! And dont forget, God does bless us abundantly above all we can ask or think. The problem comes when we dont look!
1. Jesus concludes with a response to Peters question, "What do I get for giving so much?" You see, that was the wrong heart attitude. You dont give to get, you give out of love and God honors that kind of giving. Too often today we see people looking at God as some kind of cosmic stock-market. And if that is the way you think, you are like the rich young ruler. Serve the Lord freely with no strings attaches and you will be blessed!