Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Oct 14th)

Pastor's Summary of Mark 10:17-31

Jesus continues to teach about what it means to follow him. The man kneels as to a master; such a show of piety is abnormal. People stood to pray. Perhaps Jesus' response (v. 18) is a careful one. Rabbis (teachers) were not usually addressed as "good"; only God is good. the man insists that he has always kept those of the Ten Commanments which deal with relationships among people (vv.. 19-20), and Jesus believes him. ("Jesus...loved him", v. 21, but what about his relationship with God? Jesus seems to recognize that the man puts his trust in his own piety and wealth, in his achievements, but wealth stands in the way of his gaining oneness with God-so Jesus tests him in vs. 21. the man's shock and departure show that Jesus is correct. Wealth was seen as a sign of God's favor, but in the man's case, it gets in the way of true discipleship.

But we cannot save ourselves-only God can save us (v. 27). It is "impossbile" for humans to enter the Kingdom through their own efforts, even when blessed with God-give possessions, as v. 25 says in a grotesque image. Peter's words in v. 28 carry with them a question: what is the reward of those who are faithful now? Jesus answers: those who have given up their possessions and natural family for the sake of him and of his mission will receive much: in this life, they will share in the Chrstian community (although they may suffer); in the "age to come" (v. 30, in the kingdom), they will have eternal life. Finally v. 31; the "first" are those who have status now, the "last" are those who have left everything. In entering the kingdom, the "last" will be God's obvious choice for admission.

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