Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Numbers 35-46, Mark 10:1-31
13 People were bringing children to Jesus so that he would bless them. But the disciples scolded them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he grew angry and said to them, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. 15 I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he hugged the children and blessed them.
17 As Jesus continued down the road, a man ran up, knelt before him, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?”
18 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 19 You know the commandments: Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Don’t cheat. Honor your father and mother.”
20 “Teacher,” he responded, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him carefully and loved him. He said, “You are lacking one thing. Go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 22 But the man was dismayed at this statement and went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
23 Looking around, Jesus said to his disciples, “It will be very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom!” 24 His words startled the disciples, so Jesus told them again, “Children, it’s difficult to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.”
26 They were shocked even more and said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them carefully and said, “It’s impossible with human beings, but not with God. All things are possible for God.”
28 Peter said to him, “Look, we’ve left everything and followed you.”
29 Jesus said, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or farms because of me and because of the good news 30 will receive one hundred times as much now in this life—houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and farms (with harassment)—and in the coming age, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.” (Mark 10:13-31, Common English Bible).
The Christian stand-up comic, Mike Warnke (Yes, I know he has fallen from stardom as it were but that doesn’t mean some of what he had to say isn’t spot on) used to say, “God didn’t make things that difficult. We just want to be impressed with ourselves. God made it as easy as cherry pie.”
He’s right, you know. We do tend to make things a lot more difficult than they have to be. Even before I went to seminary, I would pick up a theology book and try to read it. My desire to read the book would often leave very quickly once I sat down and actually attempted to read the book. I just didn’t understand.
When I was in seminary, I was assigned a book to read. It wasn’t a very long book, only about 50 pages. That was good because I read this book ten times and I still didn’t understand.
I find it interesting that Mark would place these two events, Jesus beckoning children to him and saying unless one welcome’s the kingdom like a child, one won’t enter it paired with the story of the rich young man wanting to know what he had to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus was, it seems to me, saying we need the simple while the young man wanted to make it more complicated.
Jesus wants us to approach matters of the eternal in a child-like manner (not childish, childlike). In other words, it is simple, believe. “…whoever believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.” Those words are pretty simple.
Yet we also have this young man who Jesus, essentially outlines belief through the commandments. “Well, I’ve done all that says the young man. What else?” He wants to make things more complex. Jesus obliges him by telling him to sell all he had, give the money away and follow.” That is the ultimate in believe. And, perhaps, we want more complex so things might get lost in the complex, where we can’t hide in the simplicity.
Jesus didn’t make it that hard. Believe.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved