Series: BIOS of a Savior
Bible Passage: Mark 10:13-31
Other Pertinent Scripture: Parallel passages: Matthew 19:16-22; Luke 18:18-23
Exodus 20:3-5; Matthew 6:24; Romans 8:1-4; 2 Corinthians 8:9; 1 Timothy 6:17-19
The gospel of Mark is a documentary account of the life of Christ. Like other ancient biographies, which were called a BIOS or “life,” Mark’s account speaks to us about the actions and events of a man’s life. But this is no mere man Mark is presenting. This is the holy man who is wholly God, the one who has unique authority to call us to follow him.
As a church, everything about Stonehouse centers on this BIOS - his life, his teaching, his authority, his suffering and his victory.
a note on this week’s text:
When this rich man approaches Jesus he has already been successful in his young age. He is financially “set,” apparently doing well for himself (Mark 10:22) and so far as he is concerned he is a picture of religious achievement as well (Mark 10:20). He approaches Jesus not with a humble heart but rather with a lot of self-confidence as he comes to this “good teacher” seeking another item to check of his to-do list. Instead of finding another religious task he encounters the God who sees all, Jesus Christ, the living word. Jesus sees right through all of his exterior achievements straight to his heart.
The mastery of the wisdom of Christ is on display in his responses to this man. Jesus draws him in by listing commandments and then cuts straight to the heart by revealing to the man what he truly loves and places his hope in. He does this by asking the man to sell all he has and give to the poor, something the young man can’t imagine doing because he has idolized his wealth. In this encounter we find Christ loving the man by challenging him and exposing his heart, the question for us is how will we respond when Jesus does the same to us?
a few items to help take a deeper look this week or share with others:
“The Rich Young Ruler” by R.C. Sproul
“6 Ways to Smash the Approval Idol” by Sammy Rhodes
Suggested discovery/discussion questions:
1. As this man approaches Jesus he thinks he is just a teacher and not truly God but Jesus confronts this assumption right away by saying, “No one is good except God alone.” When he thinks Jesus is but another teacher he comes asking about another religious duty he can do. When Jesus contradicts this thinking it leads down a road toward the darkness of the man’s heart being exposed. How often, when coming to Jesus, do you come pushing your agenda? What does it look like to approach Jesus humbly? Is Jesus just some teacher to you, there to give you extra things (laws) to do? Or is Jesus God, the very one who defines what it looks like to come to him? What is the difference?
2. When Jesus lists the commandments he is not saying to the man, “this is how you get to heaven” instead he is drawing the man in to expose his heart. After the list the man claims that he has kept the law but we know that no man can keep the law perfectly… this young man is missing something. What are we missing when we think we are “doing good” at keeping the law? What area of the law are you particularly prone to do this in? What is the heart or true essence of the law? Did Jesus come to give us more laws or to do something else completely? What did Jesus come to do?
3. When Jesus says, “you lack one thing” he has identified the idolatry of this man’s heart and is ready to expose it, he isn’t about to give the man his final “to-do” for entrance to heaven. This moment is profound as it seems the young man’s life is perfect but Jesus, with just one command, reveals how instead it is a life of idolatry. Why does Jesus tell the man to go and sell everything and give to the poor? Is Jesus commanding all people to sell everything? What do we see in the man’s response to Jesus here? How about you, are there things in your life that you would be unwilling to give up if Jesus asked you to? Why do we hold on to certain things like this?
4. After the man turns away sorrowful Jesus says that it is impossible for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. He repeats himself and says, “how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God” and uses the hyperbole of the camel going through the eye of a needle to declare that it is in fact impossible (Mark 10:27). Why is it impossible for those who trust in wealth to enter the kingdom of God? Who else is this about besides those who are rich? What about entrance to God’s kingdom makes this impossible for man? What things do we trust in instead of trusting in God?
5. The disciples are “exceedingly astonished” by this all and respond by saying, “Then who can be saved?” Part of this response comes from the belief that those who are rich are indeed blessed by God and must be doing things right. We too have this belief in our culture and our time. How often we think that if we do things right then we will have a great life in return! We often believe in Karma more than the gospel. How does the gospel contradict this belief? Who deserves to enter the kingdom of God? How do we gain entrance to the kingdom of God? What is the gospel and how is it different than Karma?
6. After all of this Peter declares that they (the disciples) have left everything to follow Jesus. He rightly understands what Jesus is getting at here and he wants to know that it has indeed been worth it. Jesus responds with a comforting truth: disciples of Jesus who leave those things which signify prominence in the world to follow him will in fact find in abundance those things returned to them in true form in this age and in the age to come. Following Christ means joining a whole new family, having an entirely new home, being provided for in all new ways… all this is found in God’s new community, the Church. The world will not understand this new reality so it will come with persecutions and misunderstandings but in the end, those who are last will be first. What do we fear when we sense that following Jesus might mean loosing certain things in life we’re comfortable with? What does it mean to “leave” these things for the sake of Christ and the gospel? Have you seen examples of people doing this? In what ways have you done this and found Jesus’s words true? What does it mean for the “first [to] be last, and the last first”?
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