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Mark 10:17-31

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There are certain times in life where we have a problem that we aren’t sure how to solve, so we turn to others for help. Sometimes we have the right question, but we ask the wrong person. Other times we ask the appropriate person, but we have the wrong question. The most unfortunate, however, is when we actually get the question right, and we find the right person to help us, and they give us the right answer…but we don’t want to accept it.
A long time ago I was teaching one of my first Sunday School lessons. I am very critical in my self assessment, often overly so. I wasn’t feeling good about how the lesson had gone—no doctrinal or theological concerns—but feeling like I hadn’t communicated well. Maybe gotten lost in the weeds a bit, and maybe left some people there. I was hoping my assessment was off, but I needed know. “Honey, what did you think of the lesson.” Corrin’s reply shook me to my core: “It was…ok.” Knowing my wife the way I do, I instantly realized by her reply that what I thought was merely a poor lesson, was in fact, a Mount St. Helens level disaster. Making matters worse, Pastor Crawford had attended our class that morning.
Truthfully, Corrin’s answer didn’t set well with me, and secretly I was hoping she was also way off in her evaluation. So I shot off an email to Pastor Doug: “Pastor-I didn’t feel great about how I communicated the lesson Sunday. I would love any feedback that would help me improve my teaching.” I got a reply very quickly: “It was fine. Can you do lunch tomorrow?” By which I understood that my current thinking was way off, and far from being a Mt. St. Helens level disaster, it was more of a Hiroshima type situation.
I asked a good question, I asked the right people…I didn’t want to accept their answer.
Consider Pilot, when he asks of Jesus: “What is truth?” Great question. Considering where he stood near the climax of human history, it is hard to imagine a more important question for Pilot to be asking.. “What is truth?” And he’s asking Jesus! The One who is “the way, the truth, and the life.” He is the light of truth for the people who have been stumbling around in the darkness. Pilot asks a question that has stumped brilliant philosophers for thousands of years, he asks it during the most pivotal week in human history, and he asks the only person who would ever be able to answer that question perfectly. And then Pilot washes his hands, gives Jesus over to the people to be crucified, and in so doing he turns his back on the only One who could ever answer that most pivotal question. Truth, in the person of Jesus, the answer Pilot wasn’t willing to accept.
In Mark chapter 10, a young man asks an incredibly important question. He asks the perfect person. He gets the true answer. But he goes away sorrowful. Because in the sinfulness of his heart, he refused to accept the word of God.

An Urgent Question, an Unexpected Response (v. 17-18)

Rich young ruler is chasing after Jesus with an urgent question (v. 17)

17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

it is fascinating that someone of his stature is pursuing the travelling Rabbi in so undignified a way
this is not someone coming to try to stump Jesus or trick him, it is someone with a question they believe is of vital personal importance
The assumptions in his question: “Good teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (v. 17)
“Good teacher”
You don’t go to a broke fool for financial advice—you find a man who has been wise with his money and ask him.
in other words, if you desire something it seems reasonable to ask someone who has it, not someone who doesn’t
The assumption is that good people possess eternal life
this remains a cultural assumption that is true, but inappropriately applied
no evil persons will have eternal life, and no good persons will be without it
the problem is that we define ourselves as “good” against our fallen perspective of fairness, not God’s standard of Holiness.
So when Jesus replies “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is God. (v.17)” it is a death knell to anyone who proposes to enter eternity on the basis of self righteousness
Why was Jesus singled out as the “good teacher” who should be asked this particular question?
He taught as one who had authority, unlike the scribes ()
He preformed miracles which attested to God’s power ()
“What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Matthew’s gospel has “what good thing shall I do”)
He approaches the question as one immersed in a culture obsessed with external observance of the law
His framework for salvation revolves around his action
(v. 18)“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”
“18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
The New King James Version. (1982). (). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Mk 10:18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Christ begins by addressing the underlining assumption of the man
this is something Christ often does—exposing the underlying incorrect presuppositions of His questioner by reshaping the true issue
it is, after all, useless to correctly answer an incorrect question
it is essential that the young ruler understands there is no one who, of themselves, can stand before God as righteous
therefore, the man’s question: “what good thing shall I do?” is wrong
A note: many have attempted to use this passage as proof that Christ is not God, nor did he think of himself as God.
We mustn’t read a tone into Jesus’s words that doesn’t appear in the text
Christ never denies the truth of the man’s address to Him of “good teacher”
Indeed, Christ’s answer to the young ruler demonstrates the authority of One who is good, and may therefore authoritatively answer the question of how to obtain eternal life.
In this way, Christ’s response is a subtle revelation of His divine nature, not a rejection of it.

Keeping the commandments (v.18-20)

19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”

I think that this is a picture of the church.
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