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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
This past weekend, we resumed our study through the Gospel of Mark with a message on Mark 10:17–31. In this message, Pastor Jerry Sander shared Jesus’ secret to being truly rich, how we can experience life in all its richness, how neither religion nor riches nor personal righteousness can get us into heaven, and how we can align our priorities to His.
In this week’s group study, Pastor Reuben Ramsaran invites us into a deeper conversation about Mark 10:17–31! If you missed the message or want a refresher, click here to watch it in its entirety.
Below, you’ll find some key questions to reflect on and consider in your group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, some action points fo the week, and a look ahead.
Memory Verse of the Week: Mark 10:26–28 (NIV)
“The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ Then Peter spoke up, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’”
Icebreaker: If money wasn’t an object, what would you do and why?
Getting the Conversation Going: This past weekend, we explored a profound passage where Jesus talks about money, kingdom priorities, and once again asserts the nature of being His disciple. However, before teaching on any of this, He establishes something of vital importance that needed to be understood by those listening to Him then and by anyone who would call themselves a Christian today.
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus was stopped on the road by a young man seeking the answer to the all-important question: ”What must I do to inherit eternal life?” But before asking, he kneeled before Jesus and called Him “good teacher.”
The word for good is agathe, which speaks of an inherent goodness, goodness in nature which originates and can only come from God. Today, this may seem like a harmless, common way to refer to someone, similar to how you may hear someone say, “good sir.” But the title of “good teacher” was never applied to other rabbis in Jesus’ time because it implied the sinless nature of God. To be sure, this title does apply to Jesus. In fact, it ONLY applies to Jesus! So, you may be asking yourself, “Then why did Jesus question the young man about it?”
On the surface, you could take this to mean Jesus was upset by the young man’s use of this title. You may wonder if Jesus was trying to dissuade him from using this title, similar to how Paul did in Acts 14:15 (NIV) when the people of Lystra believed he and Barnabas were Greek gods. To that, Paul asked, “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you.”
That’s not what Jesus was doing! He wasn’t denying His goodness or divinity; He was inviting the man (and us) to reflect upon what it means if He is indeed good and divine. Jesus was basically saying, “You know what you’re calling me, right? You’re saying I’m God in the flesh.” Now, if He was in fact the good teacher, the Messiah and Savior, then He and only He has the answer to the question of eternal life. And if He is the good teacher, then His every word must be obeyed! He should be followed without question or hesitation.
Before addressing the question, Jesus is establishing that as good teacher, we must submit fully to His authority and word. We can’t pick and choose which of His words we like and what aligns with our cultural sensibilities (both then and now). This is how we are meant to frame this whole conversation, the Gospels, the New Testament, and the entirety of Scripture. If He is God, and the Bible is His God-breathed, revealed Word to us, then we must submit to it fully.
Mark 10:18 (NIV)
“‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good—except God alone.’”
John 1:1 (NIV)
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Discussion Question 1: Why was/is it important for Jesus to establish His authority and Lordship? How does Jesus’ establishment of authority in this weekend’s passage in light of the other verses above impact the way you view the Bible as a whole?
“One Thing You Lack”: Now that we’ve established Jesus’ authority as good teacher, as Lord, Messiah, and God, we then move into His answer to the young man’s question. In essence, this man wanted to know how to be right with God. So, Jesus answers him by directing him to what every Jewish man and woman would know by memory, the Ten Commandments.
This man’s response was basically, “I’m good! I’ve got that covered!” While there’s no way this man could have been totally sinless in this regard, it’s noteworthy that he considered himself a relatively moral person, and he probably was. But being a moral person doesn’t make a person right with God. It’s here Jesus moves in on what does make a person right with God—surrender all and follow Him.
Now, don’t make the common mistake of thinking that selling all your possessions and giving to the poor is what makes one right with God. That’s not what Jesus is saying here. Jesus isn’t addressing possessions or prosperity. Instead, He’s attacking the real root issue of idolatry, which was keeping this man from being right with God and from being His disciple. In his specific case, the idol—the thing he valued above God, the thing he put his trust and security in, the thing he was unwilling to lay down and submit—was his wealth. Basically Jesus is saying, “Love Him first, that is how you get right with God. Anything that impedes you in that must be surrendered.”
This is true for us, too. We all battle with the temptation of idolatry in forms as numerous and diverse as us. But let’s not forget that the “one thing” our soul truly longs for is for God to occupy His rightful place in our lives.
Discussion Question 2: What are some things people are commonly unwilling to let go of and keeps them from following Jesus?
Discussion Question 3: What form has idolatry taken in your life, and how can you grow in submission to God in this area?
Kingdom Priorities: To be Jesus’ disciples, we must give our lives to Him! We must be willing to give up everything for His sake. We can love nothing more than Him, value nothing higher than Him, and prioritize nothing above Him. This didn’t sit well with the rich young man, so he went away sad. Jesus took the opportunity to teach the disciples another lesson, and it left disciples astonished. Why? Logically, if a person is rich, especially in Jesus’ day, they must be doing something right. This rich man followed all of the commandments. He worked hard to get what he had. His wealth could be correlated with blessing and favor. But Jesus once again flipped societal norms and assumptions upside down.
Accomplishments and success on earth do not bring you closer to salvation. You see, people who “have it all” on their own often don’t feel like they need God. Their trust is in their stuff rather than on Jesus, which Jesus explains often makes it more difficult for those with wealth and power to submit to His authority and Lordship and follow Him.
So, the disciples ask a poignant question: “Who then can be saved?”
Who could live up to this standard of surrender? Jesus’ response is one that should give us hope, security, and peace: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” You see, apart from the grace of God, neither rich nor poor, male nor female, moral or wicked, nor anyone in between can, in and of themselves, do anything to enter the kingdom. Why? Our sinful nature prevents us and in turn disqualifies us.
In our sinful state, we’re dead in our transgressions (Ephesians 2:1) and cannot choose nor produce life-giving goodness. It’s only by God’s grace and gift of salvation, by the work of the Holy Spirit drawing us to Himself, this can be accomplished. And our role in this? Respond to the call of Jesus to follow Him.
And the disciples say as much in response to Jesus, stating, “We have left everything to follow you!” This is what it means to follow Jesus: to be willing to leave everything; to lose all we have and cling to in this world in order to be found IN Him. And when we do, Jesus says we’ll receive “a hundred times as much in this present age . . . and in the age to come—eternal life.” What a wonderful promise!
Mark 10:29–30 (NLT)
“I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life.”
Discussion Question 4: How does Jesus’ response to the disciples change the way you view your life and role in His kingdom? How have you seen Jesus’ promise in verses 29–30 made real in your life?
Discussion Question 5: What are some things you can do to ensure your priorities are aligned with Christ and His kingdom?
This Week: Take time to think about your time, finances, and relationships. Invite the Holy Spirit to search your heart for anything you trust more than God. If Jesus is calling you to a deeper trust in Him, be obedient to give up anything that holds you back from following Him.
Pray It Out: Share prayer requests in your group. Write down the requests of your group members, spend time praying over these requests, and keep praying individually over them throughout the week.
Read the Article
This weekend is Independence Day! On this special weekend, as we celebrate the declaration of freedom that was made 245 years ago in the United States and the freedom we get to enjoy today because of it, our study will bring us to Mark 10:32–45. In this study, we’ll explore Jesus’ revolutionary view on the nature and structure of power in His kingdom.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.