Chapter 34

A clear contrast-children and the rich young man
Mark 10:13-31 (ESV)

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13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

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Mark 10:13-16
Faith like a child

Being annoyed with someone is not necessarily a sin if the anger is fair and controlled.[1] Sometimes we should be annoyed or angry over certain wrongs. Here, the disciples annoy Jesus. They rebuke people bringing children to Jesus. Jesus insists that children can come to Him unhindered. The kingdom of God is theirs. Before blessing them He states, Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. So Jesus confirms that some will be excluded from Heaven by their sins, and some will be accepted through personal saving faith in Christ alone. How can you receive the kingdom of God like a child and so enter it?

As a doting grandfather of six lovely little girls, I have rediscovered much about how children exercise trust! As I entered a hall with a hard polished wood floor one granddaughter stood on a table. With a big smile, she yelled out my name as she saw me. As I approached her, she spontaneously launched herself off the table towards me! She knew I would catch her—and she was right. I love her!

A guilty sinner must trust Jesus Christ like a child. Recognising his sin and guilt and that he deserves God’s punishment, he casts himself on Jesus, who died on the cross in his place, loves him and is alive today. As he throws himself unconditionally into Christ’s merciful arms, he is securely held. Jesus never drops anyone casting himself, on Him for cleansing and mercy. Just like my granddaughter trusted me, come and trust the Saviour. He will catch you! You receive the kingdom when He receives you in His arms!

Mark 10:17-31
The poor rich man

Matthew tells us that a certain rich man is young.[2] With many acquired riches, he expects a long luxurious life. But he is bankrupt spiritually. He runs and kneels before Jesus. He asks how he can inherit eternal life. He calls Jesus ‘Good Teacher’. Jesus underlines His deity by replying that only God is good. Jesus tells him to keep God’s commandments, detailing the last six of the Ten Commandments,[3] except number ten, You shall not covet. The man says he has kept them all, so Jesus tests him. He tells him to sell everything and give it to the poor. He will then have treasure in Heaven. He calls him to follow Him. The man leaves, saddened. He does covet possessions.  How long will his wealth last until he leaves it to enter a lost eternity? By putting his possessions before obeying God, he has also broken the first two commandments: he doesn’t love God, and his possessions are his idols. How different from Christ who left Heaven’s glories to empty Himself and die for us on the cross.[4]

Jesus teaches it is extremely hard—though not impossible, by God’s grace—for a rich man to enter God’s kingdom. It will take a miracle of grace. But receiving eternal life in Christ always needs God’s miraculous grace!

The disciples say they have left everything to follow Christ. Jesus confirms they will gain, not only as possessors of eternal life, but because God compensates His followers generously in this life too. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.  Better having little now, but to know God and His blessings eternally!

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[1]   .  Ephesians 4:26, for example. Even righteous anger must be controlled by the one who is righteously angry.
[2]   .  Matthew 19:20.
[3]   .  See Exodus 20:12-17 and Deuteronomy 5:16-21. Note that in Mark 10:19 Jesus adds Do not defraud which is not in the Ten Commandments but is an application of three of them – no stealing, no false witness, and no coveting. Could it be that gaining wealth by fraud was part of the young man’s problem?
[4]   .  Philippians 2:5-11; 2 Corinthians 8:9.

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Questions on Chapter 34
Mark 10:13-31 A clear contrast-children and the rich young man.

A. How is childlikeness a good example of how to put your trust in Jesus Christ?   Mark 10:14-15   Matthew 18:1-4

B. How does Jesus get to the real heart of the problem of the poor rich man?   Mark 10:21   Mark 10:23-25    Exodus 20:17   Luke 12:15-21

C. Did the man claim more about his righteousness and relationship with God than he actually experienced in practice? How can we deal with that temptation?   Mark 10:20   Psalm 51:6   Matthew 6:33   Colossians 3