Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lent Day 27 - Mark 10:17-31

Who can be saved? It was generally believed those blessed by God were seen in their richness. We're not sure what the motivations were for the man who asked the question about eternal life. Probably there were many. Obviously this man was pious keeping the commands of God. Yet this obviously brought little in the way of security and intimacy with God. He still felt far away from God or he wouldn't have asked the question. Jesus' first response is the compassion he has on the man (v. 21). Then Jesus surmises what has kept the man from God was his many possessions. In contrast to Jesus' compassion, this man is sad as he left unwilling to give up those things that brought a false security and intimacy. The disciples are amazed at Jesus' answer since it overturned conventional wisdom. In fact, it pointed in the direction of down right impossibility. (The point of the needle's eye and the camel is emphasizing that money and possessions are not able to buy us our way into the Kingdom.) It is only because of the God of compassion and grace that any can experience security and intimacy. Peter questions, I imagine with a tone of questioning about their fate, that the disciples have left all to follow Jesus and if Jesus is verging on renouncing signs of security like property, what will their reward be. In fact, Jesus notes their reward is both now and later (v. 30). In case, we don't catch this reversal, Jesus repeats that those things that seem important are in fact of lesser value than we might imagine.
Which commandments does Jesus quote? Which does He leave off? What is the focus of the commands Jesus does quote? How might that be significant?
What are signs of false security and intimacy today? How do they keep us from discipleship in the Kingdom? Why do we continue to seek after false security and intimacy outside of God's Kingdom and presence?
If wealth and possessions are not a sign of God's blessing (and in fact can be obstacles), what might be? What are obstacles for you?
Since most of us reading this are part of the wealthiest in the world, what does this passage speak to us?
Again we see that discipleship requires sacrifice. How has God been speaking to you about what you may need to be giving up?

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