The Man Who Needs Nothing, Not Even Jesus

Take your Bibles and turn with me to the good news, the gospel as recored by Mark. After a two-week break for Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday, we pick up where we left off in Mark 10. 

Mark has been organizing material and he’s been on a discipleship kick lately. By discipleship we mean that Jesus is defining the terms of relationship between him and his followers. He is specifying what it means to follow him.

These are the rules of engagement, if you will. And since Jesus is God he defines the relationship. The spirit of our age loves independence and self-expression. We like to have an individualized and personalized approach to everything.

But when it comes to following Jesus, he defines what it means to follow him and there are no exceptions. There are no special cases. You can’t take your own path to finding Jesus.

This theme goes all the way back to Chapter 8 where Jesus said, “whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Now woven in and out of many of the paragraphs we have studied since then is this theme of discipleship.

It is very simple to understand. Discipleship, or following Jesus is not complicated.

Today in our passage, Jesus is going to break common misconceptions about salvation. Namely, that God helps those who help themselves, or God saves good people. God only saves bad people. Period.

Salvation is by God’s power and grace to those who embrace Jesus as their only hope, not to those feel good about their own achievements. And to be saved means submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord of all.

Mark 10:17–31—17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall 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, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. 

(23) And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard 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 man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” 

(28) Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, 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 farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

3 Conversations as Jesus Explains True Salvation

  1. He engages with a superficial seeker (17-22)
  2. He educates on the wonder of salvation (23-27)
  3. He encourages that a future blessing awaits (28-31)

(17) As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 

And He was setting out on a journey… Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem to die. He’s been teaching out in the boonies east of Israel. And as he’s getting ready to leave.

A man ran up to Him and knelt before Him… now this probably wasn’t terribly uncommon for Jesus. The gets yelled at, touched, knelt before, pleaded with. We’ve seen that wherever he goes there is usually a public spectacle of some sort.

But what makes this particularly unusual is the man doing the kneeling. Your heading probably says, “the rich young ruler” to describe the man’s identity. That’s a good way to describe him. 

Matthew tells us that he is young. Luke says that he is a ruler, we find out here in v. 22 that he had many possessions—he is prosperous.

When Luke said he’s a rule that isn’t a ruler as in a prince, but a synagogue ruler. A leader in a local assembly. So, a wealthy, lay-person in the congregation who had risen to a level of leadership due to most likely to his morality.

This guy is ahead of the curve. Already has wealth, he has spiritual clout and is highly esteemed. If you want morality you’ve got it. Riches you’ve got it. Popularity and religious influence, you’ve got it. A proven track records of success in life from commerce and religion, you got it. Guy is a candidate for person of the year under 30.

We find this man coming to the right person asking the right question in the right way. How popular is Jesus amongst synagogue officials. Not very popular. Here this guy is bowing before him! That’s a position that esteems and honors Jesus.

“Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Unusual way of speaking. Rabbis weren’t normally called good. Again showing a high degree of reverence and esteem.

He acknowledges by his question that Jesus is the supreme teacher on the most important subject in the world.

Now it’s true that the question is what must I do. It’s possible that is a subtle indication of a wrong view of salvation that it is by human effort. But the question is a good one. What must I do? Repent and believe.

Not asking for a checklist then, but more a question like, “what’s a guy gotta do around here to get saved?”

This is a sincere question… clearly this man has been concerned about his spiritual life. There are those who couldn’t care less about eternity or their soul. This man is not in that camp.

I’ve done a lot. But I have this nagging lack of assurance that plagues me, and I can’t drop it no matter how hard I try. 

What would the man’s theology at this point have told him? If he was a ruler in the synagogue what did he himself teach every Saturday?

Now class, think with me for a moment. What do you expect Jesus to say? Without looking, just thinking, what his normal response—believe. Repent and believe. Believe in me. Believe in the works I do. Believe in me and the Father who sent me. 

And Jesus said to him, v. 18—believe in me… (no).

(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.’ ” 

Well that’s confusing!

First of all, Jesus says what appears to say he isn’t God even though elsewhere he claims he is God, and second, he appears to be stating that eternal life comes through obeying God’s commandments rather than believing in him.

Just a couple of minor points—the deity of Jesus and how you get saved. Nothing too critical here.

It isn’t a main point in the text, but a clear implication here is that telling people God’s plan of salvation fits the need of the person. I don’t mean of course that we choose the most favorable angle to represent the message that God saves sinners, but rather that different people are in different places and need to be confronted with different truths.

First, Jesus doesn’t say he isn’t God. Look carefully at the words with me.

(18) And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.

Does Jesus say he isn’t God? No. He says why do you call me good? The point is that the man doesn’t know that Jesus is God. And so, when the man calls Jesus a good teacher he demonstrates that he has a high view of human goodness.

Jesus is revealing, you are man-centered in your thinking. In your own mind I’m good, and as we will see in a moment, you think you’re pretty good to.

See this man thinks Jesus is a good prophet a good teacher a good man. And then by extension, this man believes that he too is a good man. Jesus is fine being thought of as good, as long as it is connected to his deity. If you separate the two and think Jesus is just a good guy, well he’s going to challenge your view of human ability and human goodness.

For this man there are two categories of people. Good people. Bad people. Jesus says, there is only one category: bad people. 

He put himself in the good category. He put Jesus in the good category. 

Sounds confusing—it sounds like Jesus is saying he isn’t God or he isn’t good. But that isn’t what Jesus is saying. Jesus says, “I want to know why you are calling me good? What’s going on in your heart and mind that you would say that, knowing that only God is good.

After a full day at the synagogue this guy came home and went to bed feeling anxious and his soul experienced unrest.

Jesus interacts with this man as though he is Jewish (i.e., he assumes that he knows what the character of God and the OT commandments). What would a God-fearing Jew have thought when asked, “what does it take for someone to inherit eternal life?” 

What if we asked Peter, or James or John that question prior to them following Jesus (circa 25 A.D. when Jesus was an adult, but hadn’t yet begun his public ministry?).

Obey the law and live!

The man as we will come to find out is asking a question that he doesn’t really want an honest answer to, he just wants to hear what he wants to hear.

(20) And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 

That’s a big boast. Since I was young. He is still a young man according to Matthew.

“From a youth” has reference to a boy’s twelfth year when he assumed the yoke of the commandments and was held responsible for their performance (cf. M. Berachoth II. 2; Lk. 2:42).

In Acts 26:4 Paul spoke of his own manner of life from his youth up.

Verb form indicates that this was a discussion. It wasn’t a one-and-done statement. He is listing it all off. It is making a claim to righteousness and then validating it. There was an air of confidence and self-assurance. I have kept all these things. You name it. I’ve done it.

And in one sense, that was true. Jesus won’t challenge him on that fact. But there is something here that doesn’t add up. If this man isn’t lacking anything and he’s fully assured, then why is he here right now.

William Lane perceptively writes:

Yet his question to Jesus suggests that behind a façade of security there was a heart which had lost much of its security. Concerned with the dimensions of his own piety, he had lost his delight in God with the result that he lacked the approval of God.

He is able, before Jesus to state that he is good to go. Proverbs 16—the ways of a man are right in his own eyes. Check. Check. Check. Check. And double check. But deep down within him those check marks aren’t satisfying.

How did this man view the law? Superficially. No one in their right mind. Honor your father and mother—always obeyed as a little tyke—all the way, right away, and with a happy heart? Fulfilled requests… 

Jesus understands the law in a different way than we commonly talk about it. We say, you could never obey it, too hard. But he seems to indicate that eternal life and the law are somehow connected. 

Is Jesus saying that you can earn your salvation? No.

Is Jesus saying that if you keep the law you inherit eternal life? Yes.

What did he mean? The core of the law is to love God wholeheartedly, and love others sacrificially. Who obeys the law from the heart? Those who trust in God for salvation. Even in the OT, true believers believed salvation was based upon God’s grace. 

Now, what happens when you believe that a good, gracious God loves you? You want to obey him. I have yet to lay my head on the pillow at night confident in my perfect performance, but I can attest that I love God’s law and I want to obey it.

Before Sinai came the experience of God’s grace of being saved through the exodus from Egypt. Understood properly, not legalistically like the Judaizers of Acts and Galatians did, the commandments lead to life. Misunderstood as a means to earning merit, they lead to death. Yet it is not the commandments themselves that are the cause of this but rather the misunderstanding and misuse of the commandments.

An embracing of God’s commandments is a fruit that you belong to God. In the inner man you delight in God’s law, even if you struggle to obey it.

The problem for this man is not that he is doing the law, but that he is trusting in it.

A question for us is do I use my performance vis-à-vis other people to bring me confidence in my standing before God? A symptom of this is when your conscience is challenging you in an area and you experience the pangs of guilt, do you comfort yourself by thinking about how you stack up compared to other people in the world? 

You need to be reminded that even your righteousness must be bathed in the blood of Christ to be acceptable to God. You can’t produce anything pleasing to God apart from his grace.

(21) Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, 

The ESV does a better job here… Jesus loved. Just cross felt out of your Bible if its in there. The original says Jesus ἠγάπησεν he loved him and he said to him. 

Pastor, Romans 8 speaks of the love of God that comes through Jesus our Lord. How is this unregenerate man loved by Jesus? Here the grammar is undeniable. Jesus isn’t feeling a feeling, but doing an action, and what is the object of this others-focused, agape love? This confused, self-righteous sinner.

Jesus loves him and speaks to him—how are these related? He loved him and he spoke to him something hard to hear. This isn’t a concession: he loved him, even though he still spoke to him. This isn’t a contrast: he loved him, but he spoke to him anyway. Jesus is loving the man perfectly by telling him what he needs to hear. Note: he is answering a question. He didn’t seek the guy out and cram this down his throat. He is invited to speak to the topic. There is a timeliness and a decorum here to in Jesus evangelism.

Jesus isn’t exposing the man to embarrass him or shame him, but in mercy. Do we not sometimes lack in this? Oh, I’m deficient. Concerned with offending and timing in presenting the Gospel. Love doesn’t withhold anything beneficial.

Is he converted? Is he a Christian? No. He is an unbeliever…

What would a common approach be: pray a prayer after me, accept me into your heart, come forward and give your life to me. But look at how Jesus responds instead:

“One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 

This isn’t Jesus saying, “there is only one area you lack” he is saying, “right off the top of my head, I can give you one area you fall short.” (i.e., one of many). But he is also focusing on the crux of the issue in this man’s heart.

One thing you lack: the man must have been thrilled! I’m about to hear it. The nagging emptiness, the concern that there is something missing. I’m about to land the answer. I just have one more thing I need to do to get assurance. 

What is it, Lord? The long pause as he waited for the rest of the sentence to come out of Jesus lips. Four verbal commands all piled up here: go away, sell your stuff (have an estate sale essentially), give away the proceeds, and come follow me. Wow. 

Jesus has never asked anyone to do this before. My friends do not be confused into thinking that this is the universal call to everyone in following Jesus. In fact, Christians are called to work, provide, save, and share. 

If we all sold all that we had then we would all be waiting on the next convert to provide for us. They would give us money to eat and then we would have to give it away again. Furthermore, Jesus doesn’t elsewhere state this as a stipulation for salvation.

Certainly the disciples left behind their 9-5 jobs, but they still retained a level of private ownership. We’ve seen Peter’s house was the home base for Jesus’ ministry thought Mark (beginning back in Mark 1:29) and a boat (3:9, 4:1, 36), and even went back to the family business in John 21:3. They left it without selling it to become destitute. That meant a total commitment to following Jesus.

Lastly, many people give away fortunes in search of a achieving forgiveness, but it doesn’t work. You can give away everything to the poor and still be condemned in your sins. Here we have a particular instance of repentance, not a universal definition of it. So, what’s this specific command to this specific man at this specific time about?

It’s interesting if you think about where we started. If you were to look at the ten commandments they can be broken into to broad categories: commandments involving your relationship to God, and commandments involving your relationship to your neighbor.

Which commandments did Jesus give to the man originally? All commandments relating to neighbor. This man met the test there in some sense. But what about the priority in his relationship with God? He worshipped and served another god.

Jesus is saying, you haven’t killed anybody, but do you love me?  Do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength? This man is moral, but he doesn’t love God. There’s no joyful submission. 

So Jesus tells him to make a decision. God or mammon. No one can serve two masters. Which one will it be. Jesus isn’t giving some command to sell what you have to buy your way into heaven. But rather to be clear about what you really want.

To follow Jesus requires the renunciation of this man’s entire identity. Not only his wealth, but his claim to have kept the law from his youth. He’s gonna have to enter into the kingdom like a child, like we just learned about. Like a humble-nobody, just like everybody else, another somebody with nothing to contribute.

That’s the idea of the narrow gate in Matthew 7. It’s that when you come to that gate, you can’t get through it with a backpack or a suitcase—you leave your righteousness, you leave your dignity, you leave your contribution, you leave your sin, the world, and even relationships. And as you step through you are blessed to gain Jesus and all the blessing associated with him.

Friend, there is nothing you can do to inherit eternal life. You get eternal life by belonging to me. So, choose to follow me today. Come, follow, and as I define discipleship for you it means letting go of these other things.

(22) But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. 

He went away. He wasn’t just feeling a little sad, these words undid him. στυγνάζω the man was shocked and appalled. His face fell downcast and became dark. The language in the original is that his face fell like dark clouds that roll in. This man leaves worse than he came.

The man is vexed and emotionally struggling—his world just got flipped upside down.

He came within an inch of eternal life, but he doesn’t believe Jesus, he has a superficial and short-lived spurt of guilt that doesn’t produce anything. He was outwardly desperate in v. 17—came running, kneeling, asking for help. 

Whatever had gone on that week or month or year had him in a spot of desperation. But it wasn’t repentance.

He came because he was concerned about the state of his soul for eternity. He finds the man who can give him an answer about how to secure eternal life. Jesus tells him that it is his if he wants it. And the man weighs out the alternatives and chooses rather to have the things which gripped his heart in the moment as he shuts the door on eternity and walks away.

He wants eternal life without self-denial. The opposite of what will a man give in exchange for his soul? I want my sin, and my self-autonomy, and my self-satisfaction, and my self-reliance, and my wealthy, AND everlasting life.

Like a child in the candy store given the option of one flavor or the other and repeatedly says, “both.” You can’t have both. This man made the most regretful decision of his life.

What was viewed as a blessing was a cursing. What was viewed as an asset was a liability. In fact, this was the greatest harm and threat to his soul.

3 Conversations as Jesus Explains True Salvation

  1. He engages with a superficial seeker (17-22)
  2. He educates on the wonder of salvation (23-27)

(23) And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” 

And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples… this is a response then to the unspoken thoughts of the disciples. Jesus is reading the situation and states what needs to be said.

On the one hand we don’t want to make this so narrow that it is only about money, when it isn’t. At the same time, there is a very specific statement here. The meaning of a story is often uncovered in the dialogue. Jesus says right here: how difficult. People with means will hardly make it into the kingdom.

We aren’t talking about levels of spiritual maturity or becoming more sanctified. We are talking about conversion: entrance into the kingdom of God.

What is the point? Riches are as Robert H. Stein puts it, riches are a terrible obstacle to entering the kingdom of God.

Why are riches an obstacle? It isn’t because money is evil.

The peculiar danger confronting the rich, however, lies in the false sense of security which wealth creates and in the temptation to trust in material resources and personal power when what is demanded by the Law and the gospel is a whole-hearted reliance upon God.

Why? Not needy… Revelation, Isaiah… you think you are well off. Deuteronomy 8 with success you will forget your God. 

With riches comes the ability to rely upon yourself. You begin to view yourself as not being in desperation and dependence upon God. It is the challenge with prosperity.

(24) The disciples were amazed at His words. 

Thinking in earthly categories. Wealthy people are important and successful and blessed. Riches = blessing; poor = cursing; actually neither are an indicator of God’s favor.

It wasn’t just this man who thought he deserved salvation… so did everyone else around him. He had done what it takes to be saved.

But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard 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 man to enter the kingdom of God.” 

Jesus is affectionate here. He calls these grown men children. Not condescendingly, but carefully. Oh children, you still have a very natural view of entrance into the kingdom. It’s so difficult. The gate is narrow, and the way is compressed.

To illustrate the point of how hard it is for a rich person to enter he uses an illustration—rich people getting saved are like needles getting threaded by camels.

Jesus is not talking about some gate in Jerusalem that was so tiny it required a camel to lie down to get through. I remember hearing that many years ago. I probably even taught it at some point. Popular viewpoint. It’s an urban Legend.

Although a cute story, there is no evidence that this gate existed. And frankly, it misses the hyperbole. The point is that it can’t happen.

Can we understand the use of hyperbolic language? Jesus picks the largest animal in Palestine, a camel, going through the smallest opening, an eye of a needle. 

There you go… we might say, it would be easier to go to the moon and come back. Or, sure that will happen when hell freezes over.

Do hear the irony now? A rich man entering into the kingdom of God? Yeah, and I’m going to go to the moon and come back. Or I’m sure that will happen, right after hell freezes over. 

A rich man getting into heaven? Sure thing guys, right after you thread a needle with a camel. The point is it is impossible. It will never happen. It can’t happen. And that’s exactly how the men repond.

(26) They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” 

Amazed. Overwhelmed. Jesus, you are making our spiritual heads spin. Why was this astonishing? It’s simple: a moral rich guy is the most likely person to get saved. If there’s no hope for someone with that type of credentials, what hope is there for us?

It’s the equivalent having a B+ average in school and then watching the class valedictorian get rejected on a college application in spite of having a 4.0 and honors. You work backwards and say if she can’t get into that college, then what hope is there for me with the B+ average.

Lord, if the morally good people, who have your obvious favor upon their lives in their financial dealings can’t be saved, then what hope is there for us average folks?

(27) Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” 

Blessed are you because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you. It isn’t just rich people we are talking about now. It is everyone. And if salvation depends upon your ability to eradicate your corruption and turn your moral ship around, then you are in rough shape.

It is impossible for rich people to enter the kingdom, with one exception. That God grants them salvation. There is one exception to the rule.

Many are called, few are chosen.

Both impossible to be justified (that has to come through the righteousness of Jesus Christ) and impossible to be regenerated (that has to come as a gift of God). The whole thing is a gift that is from God. Salvation belongs to the Lord.

It’s what gives us hope in any evangelistic situation.

(28) Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 

Our good buddy Peter. Can you imagine how much more boring the Gospel record would be if we didn’t have Peter? As he puts himself out there he gets exposed, but he had such a love for the Lord.

Lord, wait a minute. Haven’t we done the impossible? I’m mean you just said it was impossible, but I’m pretty sure we did it. There’s no tonal inflection in the text to know for sure. But contextually we will see these guys are still debating about who is better so it’s hard to not assume that there’s an air of self-congratulation here.

You know when you get the opportunity to subtly throw something self-promoting into a conversation? Oh, the flesh just loves those opportunities. You get teed up to put yourself in a good light without looking like you’re even aware of it.

But it’s true. They’ve confessed Jesus is Messiah. They’ve confessed that there is nowhere else for them to go because Jesus has the words of eternal life. They are all in. They didn’t become destitute, but they had nothing they would withhold from the Lord.

It is sinking in that they stand before Jesus viewing him as Lord, master, savior and friend because God granted them the gift of faith. You have been saved by sovereign grace alone. These men were to be struck with the wonder of their salvation.

3 Conversations as Jesus Explains True Salvation

  1. He engages with a superficial seeker (17-22)
  2. He educates on the wonder of salvation (23-27)
  3. He encourages that a future blessing awaits (28-31)

(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 farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. 

Truly I say to you… take it to the bank. Listen up. This is absolutely critical for you to understand. Jesus is a record-keeper. And like a divine CPA he is making sure that everything is properly accounted for.

Following Jesus comes at a price. It must because allegiance to him will cost you your sin, your reputation, your comfort, your relationships which are not pleasing to him, your priorities. And yet his universal call isn’t to universal loss and misery.

And of course this isn’t literal. I mean I love my mom and all, but I don’t need 100 moms. That’s too many moms for anybody. I get anxious just thinking about it. The point is you aren’t going to suffer ultimate loss, but ultimate gain from a God who loves you and cares for you.

I’ll tell you what this looks like. I have a friend who is a former Muslim. When you hear her speak of Jesus it is through tears about going years without seeing or speaking to relatives, and at the same time, learning what it means to have spiritual sisters in place of biological ones.

When you come to Christ you get a new family. None of us were born into it. That’s why we don’t look alike—we’re all adopted children here. And yet we have the same father. Look at the text. You receive back v. 30, house, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and farms. Why did Jesus forget to say fathers?

Matthew 23:9 because you have a Father in heaven.

And you receive the blessing of being in the church, and you will also receive persecution. Man, it’s a package deal. Allegiance to the gospel you have this marvelous paradox of loss mixed with gain and blessing mixed with pain.

Remember who Jesus is talking to? The men who will face persecution and even martyrdom for their allegiance to Jesus Christ. Remember who Mark is writing to… that original audience was Roman believers suffering persecution.

What a comfort this would be. It’s almost impossible for us to comprehend.

(31) “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.”

A statement that appears elsewhere—it is an axiom. The question here is whether Jesus is confirming the promise he just gave to the twelve in v. 30? Or whether is he warning against the presumption they displayed in v. 28?

It has application to both. Anything you give up now in this life in the path of obedience, God sees, and God rewards. And so, what you see with your eyes around you is not the same vantage point that God has.

The disciples are struggling the way we all do. They left it all to follow Jesus. And then what do we pick up the hint of in v. 28 that will become explicit before the end of Chapter 10? They are so proud of themselves. Man, we are so good at being last, we are definitely the first at being last.

At the same time, they need to be reminded that it is worth it. This life is about delayed gratification as we look to the yet unfulfilled promises of God.

Things are not as they seem. At the local loan office Peter, James, John and the other disciples are going to have a hard time getting a loan approval. 

Net worth: well we kind left it all.

Income: our rabbi takes care of us.

Occupation: itinerant preacher.

Social networks, or friends in high places who can vouch for you: we are actually disdained by the social elites.

This truth is vividly illustrated in the iconic story of the rich man and Lazarus—in his life the rich man experienced no pain, no struggle, no lack or unmet need. The finest of everything, but he didn’t fear the Lord. Lazarus struggled in his entire existence. In the end Lazarus went to be with the Lord, and the rich man lost all of his prosperity and went into separation.

Living for Jesus is worth it. Experiencing loss for the sake of Jesus is double worth it.

Well a passage like this is one more in our growing list of texts where Jesus defines discipleship. He defines how his people ought to relate to him.

Rejoice! This is the God we serve. He provides the righteousness, he provides the future prosperity. The only thing he requires of us in the meantime is to follow him in wholeheartedness. It isn’t the quality of our wholeheartedness, which will always be in progress until glory. But that the decided direction is one that sees Jesus as worth everything and follows him with no competing allegiances or rivals.