Sitting with Jesus: The Rich Young Ruler
Read: Mark 10:17-31
This has always been one of my favourite passages of Scripture – ever since I was a young boy. I think, because, it has been a story , an historical moment that has impacted my life and helped to shape it – I’ll unpack that more later in the message – revealing what is important in life and what has Eternal value.
(v17) “As Jesus started on His way, a man ran up to Him and fell on his knees before Him.”
 Divine Appointment (v17)
A divine appointment between Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler. It was a Destiny changer – or it has the potential to be. There are moments in life. Conversations that we have. Sometimes apparent “chance meetings” – the significance of which we don’t realise until much later.
(v17b) “Good Teacher, he asked, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” The key to his question is, “what must I do.” He is rich. He is used to getting what he wants. Everything and everyone has their price, right? Name your price Jesus! Name the price for Eternal Life!
 Divine Interpretation (v18-19)
Firstly, Jesus deals with the unusual way that the Rich Young Ruler addresses Him. “Good Teacher.” In doing so Rabbi Jesus asks, “Why do you call Me Good? No one is good – except God alone.”
Here Jesus is not denying that He is God, nor that He is Good. But He presses the man to see the logical implication of his addressing Jesus as Good, because, Jesus is God. Jesus is also saying to this self-centred and self-righteous man that, Truly, “only God is Good.” Jesus knows that the Rich Young Ruler knows Torah, and knows The Commandments. Jesus lists some of them. Actually the ones that the man has fulfilled. “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.
As the Rich Young Ruler ticks off, in his head, the fact that he has fulfilled each of these commandments – by his Human Interpretation – he declares, “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” To coin an Americanism, he is declaring, “Home Run!” But, was it?! No, as we shall see.
 Divine Intention (v21a)
“Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Jesus is not anti anyone! Not anti the rich! Not anti the poor! We need to note that what Jesus is about to say, to the Rich Young Ruler, comes from His heart of love for him. A desire for him to choose to enter into the fulness of God’s Will for him. Jesus is not wanting to trip him up. Stunt him. Jesus longs for him to choose the right path. But again, we need to note, that Jesus does not lower the Divine Bar, for anyone!
 Divine Instruction (v21b)
“One thing you lack (Jesus said). Go sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven.” Not everyone is given this Divine Instruction. Oh, we are called to give tithes and offerings. To live as The Lord directs us to live, and give. But, Jesus knew the heart of this Rich Young Ruler. His wealth was his security, his shield and defender. More than that is was his idol. His god. It made the Rich Young Ruler who he was. Jesus knew that there was far more to him than his youth, his riches, his position. Jesus also knew that if he gave it all away to the poor he would be set free from “earth vision”, and, “earth provision.” He’d also have treasure in Heaven, of eternal value and a reliance upon Jesus.
We need to note points  & 
 Divine Instruction
 Divine invitation (v21c)
“Then come, follow Me!”
This is why this passage means so much to me, as I alluded in the introduction to this message. I’ve been in “that moment.” At the Elim Conference 1981. Dennis White, a preacher from the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, concluded his message with a prophetic word of knowledge. “There is a young man here, called of God, but he is putting a wall as high and as thick as the walls of Jericho, between himself and the fulfilment of that call. Submit to God and follow Him! I wept all the way back to the chalet. My Pastor, David Butcher, took me to meet Dr White, who said, “Nigel, follow Jesus. You will never regret it! My wife and I have lived in homes that the wind blew through, because the walls were broken down. My friends, who said that I should become a lawyer, called me a jackass! Nigel, I’ve never regretted doing the Will of The Lord!” I have to say, Dr White was right. I have never regretted following Jesus!
(v22) “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad because he had great wealth.”
The way that we value things is interesting. I wonder if on his death bed, when he realised that he couldn’t take any of it with him, (there are no pockets in the shroud), whether he looked back with regret? Perhaps he had a conversion experience well before his death bed? The Lord is The Lord of The Second Chance!
 Divine Interaction (v23-27)
There is a belief that the rich have a greater chance of Eternal Life because they can give their alms, resources and good deeds out of the abundance of what they own. Jesus challenged that belief, head on, here! Riches can be a stumbling block, a barrier to salvation. The Disciples thought, “If the rich can’t get in then who can?!”
The straight forward answer is that no one can buy their salvation! Only God can save people! (v27) “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible!
Bless Peter! We love Peter! He opens his mouth before putting his brain into gear so often – and we are glad that he does because Jesus gives us gem after gem after gem of wisdom in answer to him!
(v28) “We have left everything to follow You!” Jesus’ reply is a reply that we can all say “Amen” to, because we know it to be True!
(v29-30) “Truly I tell you, Jesus replied, no one has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come Eternal Life.”
(v31) “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
The rich may be first in human eyes. But God values those perceived to be “The Last” – people who do not rely on their own efforts or material wealth but choose to rely on The God with whom all things are possible – they are first. We are first when we choose to obey Jesus and take up His Divine Invitation, “Come follow Me!”
If you are wondering whether to accept that invitation or not let me tell you that Dr White was right – Do so, you’ll not regret it!