If you already consider yourself a follower of God’s commandments then you don’t need to read this week’s Gospel. You can take the week off! Go ahead and return to your normal life. Okay so I am being facetious but I think we need to be challenged as to what it truly means to follow Jesus. Here’s the Gospel.
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus answered him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother." He replied and said to him, "Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth." Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, "You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." At that statement his 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 those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!" The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God." They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus looked at them and said, "For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God." Peter began to say to him, "We have given up everything and followed you." Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come." Mark 10:17-30
Something about Jesus has drawn this man to Him. He reverently kneels before Jesus and sincerely asks what may be the most important question anyone can ask.
Here is a visual walk-through of what happens next:
Did you see what happened? Jesus’ answer, not being what he expected, causes the man to turn away.
After the interaction with the wealthy man Jesus emphasizes His point to those still with Him. And He does so repeatedly! Look at how the conversation progresses.
That seems to be a fair question. Those who are following Jesus want to make sure. Jesus points to God. Peter points to those who have already done as Jesus commanded.
Now comes the good news!
Here is what I believe you and I need to do. We need to get down on our knees and ask Jesus:
Following Jesus is what it takes to inherit eternal life. It is a black and white issue!
What’s your answer?