Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Jesus on the Impossibility of Men and the Possibility of God

Jesus and the rich young ruler in Mark 10
Max Lucado, my favourite author commended on Mark 10:17-31, in his book The Applause of Heaven (1990). Title above, mine. He wrote:

Jesus gets to the point. “If you wants to be perfect, then go sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.”
The statement leaves the young man distraught and the disciples bewildered.
Their question could be ours: “Who then can be saved?
Jesus’ answer shell-shocks the listeners, “With man this is impossible…”
He doesn’t say improbable. He doesn’t say unlikely. He didn’t even say it will be tough. He says it is “impossible”…
Does that strike you as cold? All your life you’ve been rewarded according to your performance. You get grades according to your study. You get commendations according to your success. You get money in response to your work.
That’s why the rich young ruler thought heaven was just a payment away. It only made sense. You work hard, you pay your dues, and “zap” – your account is credited as paid in full. Jesus says, “No way.” What you want costs far more than what you can pay. You don’t need a system, you need a Saviour. You don’t need a resume, you need a Redeemer. For “what is impossible with men is possible with God.
…You see, it wasn’t the money that hindered the rich man; it was the self-sufficiency. It wasn’t the possessions; it was the pomp. It wasn’t the big bucks; it was the big head…
Astounding. These people are standing before the throne of God and bragging about themselves. The great trumpet has sounded, and they are still tooting their own horns. Rather than sing His praises, they sing their own. Rather than worship God, they read their resumes. When they should be speechless, they speak. In the very aura of the King they boast of self. What is worse – their arrogance or their blindness?
…God does not save us because of what we’ve done…
And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves.
That is the message of the first beatitude.                                               
Blessed are the poor in spirit…”
The jewel of joy is given to the impoverished spirits, not the affluent. God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest.


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