When it comes to how we live our life there are many ways we can go, but ultimately only one way that matters. You see, it is one of those human characteristics to try to figure out what is important and what isn’t important in life. People search, try this and that, only to never really land on anything that brings them joy and purpose. There is a search for something in this life because we all realize that there is an end to this life. We recognize that death is inevitable, so we want answers. We want significance. We want purpose, joy, peace and some sense of accomplishment.
The question is: what do we give our life to? The answer: Jesus Christ. The only real purpose and joy in life comes in a decision to follow Jesus Christ. All of us need, an encounter with Jesus Christ because an encounter with Jesus will force a decision – Jesus or nothing! There is an immediate impact, as we see in the story of the rich, young ruler in Mark 10.
Encountering Jesus exposes our flawed standards
I think we all believe we are far better than we are. Sure, I do bad things, but not as bad as that guy. This man in the story claims that he has actually done the right things. Of course he is only referring to the outside.
It really makes no difference what the outside looks like. Going to church is very important to your life in Christ. It is something that we need to do, but going to church does not mean your heart is right with God. You might come to church on Sunday, raising your hands to worship God, while the rest of the week you couldn’t care less about God’s ways. Our flawed standards say ,“hey, look, I am not perfect but I am better than I could be. At least I go to church and pray before my meals” God says, “big deal, your heart is evil.”
The man in this story had a problem because he thought he had something to offer God. Jesus offers eternal life, heaven with him, but not because we are good. It is because He is good. We are sinful people and need our sins taken away from us. An encounter with Jesus reveals that, but thankfully it doesn’t just do that.
Encountering Jesus Tears Down Barriers to God
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.” – Mark 10:21
Jesus diagnosed the man’s problem. He thought he could earn his way to God. He thought that if he did enough good stuff—went to church a lot, did some nice things for people, showed some kindness to strangers—all of that, that it would outweigh the bad things he had done. Of course, that was not the truth. He had a divided heart and it was pulling him away from God, not to God.
He has a few different issues. For one, he is holding onto something that he thinks will bring him happiness, money, but will ultimately not matter. He wants to get to God, but there is no way when he is holding onto his own god. But, even if he let’s go of that money, he still has a huge barrier between him and God. He will never, ever, reach it on his own.
Jesus told him to sell it all (let go of the god) and follow Him, the everlasting God. Jesus’ offer is eternal life, but it involves something that He did for us, on the cross, not something we did for him through our actions.
When this is realized, the gap is bridged because God comes to us and we can then let go of the other god and embrace the true God. But, here was the challenge for this man. He had a lot of money and did not want to let it go. And in a sad turn of events he walked away. The offer was made and the offer was refused.
This was not a wasted event because it highlights something for His disciples both then and us now.
Encountering Jesus exalts His offer of Love Over all other offers of the world.
Jesus looked at him and loved him! He loved him. He didn’t get mad at him, condemn him, or make him feel guilty. He loved him and because He did, He told Him that the only way he was going to find some sort of meaning in his life was to surrender his false God and trust in Jesus! The offer was made in love.
Scripture says that God is love and it was in His love that He offered us eternal life to begin with.
For God so loved (your name here) that he gave his one and only Son, that if (your name here) shall believe in him (he/she) shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16
Jesus only is our message,
Jesus all our theme shall be;
We will lift up Jesus ever,
Jesus only will we see.
– A.B. Simpson