Mark 10: 17-31: Longstanding problem?
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18 ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.”[a]’ 20 ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’ 27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ 28 Then Peter spoke up, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ 29 ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’ NIV
The church wayside pulpit said, ‘Longstanding problem? Try kneeling!’ But if you do try kneeling, make sure it’s more than your knees kneeling. In today’s story, the young man ‘’ran up’’ to Jesus ‘’and knelt before him’’ (17). That seemed like a good start. But not all of him was kneeling.There was at least one part of his life that was not in submission to Jesus, and it would stay that way. This is why his story starts so well (17) and ends so badly (22). Jesus knew where the resistance would be, where the idol was located, and He exposed it. I guess most disciples in the affluent parts of the world feel the challenge of Jesus’ words. It is a fact that: ‘There is no truer test of a man’s spirituality than his attitude to his possessions’……and… ‘If there’s anything you own you can’t give away, you don’t own it, it owns you.’
But it is important to remember that Jesus did not say this to everyone. There clearly were rich people in the early church, and Paul urged generosity on them, but didn’t say they must give everything away. However, for this young man, it was going to be a sticking point, and Jesus wasted no time in demonstrating this.
When you kneel before Jesus, could it be that there’s a different part of you not kneeling? It may not be money that’s your big idol but something else entirely. Whatever, we all need to make sure that it’s more than just our knees kneeling.
Just because someone looks fully yielded, it doesn’t mean they are. Jesus can see through appearances.