Wednesday, the discussion, Follow Jesus, continued, with an in depth look at the rich man in Mark 10:17-22 and the teaching of Jesus in verses 23-31. Chan left us with a suggestion; that we should stress the importance of the sacrifice that comes with discipleship and not just the rewards.
Chan uses this story to instruct us. Though the man decides not to follow, he was able to consider the cost of discipleship before he followed with regret. It would seem that Jesus would welcome another disciple into the group, but He doesn’t. He sets a standard. We know now that Jesus not only has a mark to finish but a mark for us to start. He calls the 12, asking them to leave family, possessions, titles, and jobs as a prerequisite for being a disciple. Though we are not called to literally leave everything, God calls for us to place everything as second to him. What are you willing to leave? What cost is too much?
God also reveals in this passage a truth that is know but not always considered. The man stated what he had done to deserve eternal life, Jesus knew what was in the mans heart. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knew that this would be a stumbling block. He knew his attachment to His possessions, and knew the chances of Him leaving them were not likely. He desired eternity, but would settle for worldly. What is in your heart? Are you settling? Are you sold out for Christ?
When confronted, the man looked into his heart and discovered the same thing Jesus knew. He was ready in part, but knew he wasn’t ready to leave all that brought value to himself. He was honest with himself and with Jesus, which is better than many of us do. He refused to be luke warm; deciding to be cold and not hot.
Jesus tells the disciples, “Everything is possible with God” in verse 28th to calm their concern. He gave us hope with the harsh reality of what it is expected from us as followers. We must know that our will and our flesh will always be bent towards serving the flesh, but with the Lord, we can get and keep the strength to walk away, and not turn back. Just to be sure, Peter replied, “We’ve given up everything to follow you” to Jesus, in an effort to validate their spot in the Kingdom or to solicit Christ’s response renegading their entry into the Kingdom of Heaven.
The shame in it all is found in verses 29-31. Jesus tells the disciples that those that follow him “…will receive now in return a hundred times as many….will have eternal life” (verse 30). Jesus assures them that everything lost will be replaced, repaired, or restored 100 fold as well as eternity will be assured to him who believes and follows.
The cost of following is High, but the reward is Higher. God promises us that He will meet all of our needs, and that He will reward us richly if we will seek Him first. He understands what the world has to offer, having been not only the creator, but one who stood atop the temple with the devil looking over it all. Though presented, He understood that God owns it and that in keeping in line with God’s plan, He would again have access to all God had created.