The Rich and the Kingdom of God
17 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?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[d]”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him.
But this time I am not considering wealth
One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell.
Usually we associate this incident with the tension between following Jesus and our own greater concerns. In this case the rich man held tightly to his wealth, and wished both to follow Jesus and to retain his wealth.
Now we speak of love, the gentle heartfelt love of Jesus for all people. In comparison to :whoever does not love does not know God Where I was examining love and its absence in relationship with knowledge of God.
Jesus has just descended the mount of Transfiguration on the Mountain when straight away he is plunged into more healing and teaching. At the beginning of the chapter he speaks on Divorce, calls the children to him to illustrate the disposition required for eternal life and then there comes the Rich man.
We note that the rich man pays respect to Jesus by prostrating himself at Jesus’ feet, a sign that the rich man knew Jesus to be more than just another rabbi. When he calls Jesus a ‘good teacher’ Jesus rebukes him, saying that only God is Good, yet this same Jesus has just been pronounced Son of God and has stood with the receiver of the Law – Moses. But it is not the time for the good God to be revealed in him, there is more loving to be done.
“By their deeds you will know them”, Jesus speaks of false prophets, wolves in sheeps clothing whose fruits are not baby lambs.
Matthew 7: 15 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. NIV
Not so Jesus, in everything he does love shines through. In sequence, Jesus has met, Moses, the giver of the law, followed by his addressing the Law. Then His statement of the Commandments as he replies to the rich man whose specific question is “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Mark 10:17
To choose God above any other and any thing is the Vocation we all must choose when we decide to love as Jesus Loves. To follow him faithfully. Jesus was sad because he loved the rich man who could neither love nor trust: Do not cause the good God to cry over you.
Follow the Lamb whose fruit is plain to see.
Love is his way.
Lord teach me the sadness of loving.