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November 21, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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!’”—Mark 10:26–28 (NIV)
Today’s passage continues our look at the aftermath of Jesus’ conversation with the rich young man. The man “went away sad” (Mark 10:22 NIV) because of Jesus’ instruction to lay down all he held dear in this world—his wealth and earthly possessions—for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom and to follow Him (a similar command to Mark 8:34–36 and Mark 9:43–48).
You see, to be Jesus’ disciples, we must give our lives to Him! We must be willing to leave all, sacrifice all, surrender all for Him and His kingdom in the same way that He gave all (Matthew 20:28; Philippians 2:6–8) to save us and bring us into His kingdom. We must be willing to leave everything behind for His sake. This didn’t sit well with the man, which is why he left sorrowful.
In response to this, Jesus tells His disciples it’s hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Since this was covered in our last devotional, we won’t go too much into it, but the point goes back to the idea of sacrifice and the cost of being Jesus’ disciple. Because those with vast resources often have greater attachment to the material things of this world, Jesus explains it’s much harder for them to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him.
So, the disciples pondered amongst themselves about 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 or poor, male or female, religious or atheist, or anyone in between can do anything to enter the kingdom. Why? Because our sinful nature precludes us from choosing true moral good, a life of sacrifice, or salvation.
In our sinful state, we’re dead in our transgressions (Ephesians 2:1), and thus can’t choose nor produce life or life-giving goodness. It’s only by God’s gracious hand and work of salvation, and by the gift of faith that is birthed in us through the Spirit, that this can be accomplished. Our role is to respond to the call of Jesus to lay everything down and follow Him. The disciples did respond this way and confirmed it when they said, “We have left everything to follow you!”
Friends, this is what it means to follow Jesus: We’re to be willing to leave or lose all we have 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” (Mark 10:30 NIV). What a wonderful promise!
Pause: Why were the disciples so amazed at Jesus’ words in Mark 10:23–25? How does Jesus’ response change the way you view your life and your role in His kingdom?
Practice: What are you holding onto? What worldly attachment are you struggling to surrender? Today, ask the Lord to help you, to give you the strength and wisdom to let go of anything that keeps you tethered to the material, to be willing to lose all for Him.
Pray: Father, I want to be able to say, like Peter, that I have left everything to follow You, to be Your child, to be found in You. I don’t want anything hindering me or acting as a stumbling block in my life. I desire more deeply to surrender all things to You! Help me, dear God, to surrender daily and value You and Your kingdom above any and all worldly things. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at 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.