So Close and yet So Far

Some people appear to be so close to the kingdom of God and yet in reality they are still so far.  Take, for example, the rich young man.

In Mark 10:17-31 Jesus encounters this apparent seeker.

“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.  ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?'”

This man seemed urgent.  He ‘ran up’ to Jesus, perhaps fearing that he would miss the opportunity to encounter the miracle-working Messiah.  

This man seemed submissive.  He fell on his knees before Jesus.  Isn’t this an appropriate posture before the one who is the Lord of lords? Recall in the near future (Mark 11), the posture of the mother of James and John, professing submission, yet demanding position.  Like the defiant little girl, who was instructed to sit down said, “I may be sitting up on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside.”

This man seemed spiritual. He certainly was religious.  He had kept the commandments,  established by God during the time of Moses, since he was a boy.  What else was required?  Didn’t his track record of obedience grant him eternal life.

Jesus knew his heart. By addressing one main issue in this inquirer’s life, He pressed conviction and discovered the true barrier keeping this man from the kingdom.

The issue was the love of money.  Later, in the New Testament, (1 Timothy 6:10) we learn that the LOVE of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  It is a pivotal motivator that drives the steering wheel of those who permit it into all kinds of ‘spiritual car-wrecks,’ resulting in many griefs.

The inquirer was speechless.  How did Jesus know that this was such a huge issue?  He had great wealth and the wealth had a grip on his heart that was life-wrenching.  His whole countenance changed and instead of repenting, he went away sad.  One conversation, one sin issue exposed and the man’s keen interest faded like the morning dew.

Jesus, seizing the teaching moment, alerts his followers to the dangers of riches.  Our next post will pick up at this point.

Today in Christian History (On the days I don’t publish my other blog Live Life! God’s Way I want to include a highlight from a paperback version of This Day in Christian History.  I trust the events and people will prove a blessing and an example to you.  I won’t be covering them on this 2nd blog so there won’t be duplication if you subscribe.  Thanks to those of you who write and indicate encouragement or thought-provoking comments from these posts.  God bless!)

“May 31, 1699 – Birth of Alexander Cruden’s, Scottish bookseller and compiler of Cruden’s Concordance, first published in 1737 and still a standard reference for the King James Version of the Bible.”

Cruden was an excellent Latin, Greek and Biblical scholar.  As well as producing the concordance, he worked as a proofreader and bookseller.  

In 1754 he was nominated as Parliamentary candidate for the City of London, but he decided to withdraw.  He adopted the title of Corrector.  He saw it as his personal mission to safeguard the nation’s spelling and grammar, and through that, the nation’s moral health.  He was in the habit of carrying a sponge, with which he effaced all inscriptions and signs which he thought incorrect or contrary to good morals.  (Wikipedia reference to Alexander Cruden)

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