All to Follow

Mark 10:17-31, Lectionary

Rev. Christopher Harbin

11 October 2015

We like to make comparisons. We like to position ourselves as superior to others. We find all sorts of ways to do that, regardless of how correct or incorrect our rationales might actually be. If our fictions serve our aims of making us superior, they have accomplished their purposes. Unfortunately, we tend to ignore the realities of life in the process of our self-advancement. Are we really interested in following Jesus and the way of the gospel if it does not make us superior? If we say we would leave all behind to follow Christ, do we really mean everything, or only a subset of things we are willing to discard as an investment for greater blessing?

On the heels of Jesus' teaching on the equality of women and children in the reign of God he preached, a young rich man of some status knelt before Jesus to ask what he needed to do in order to enter God's reign. He did not want to be left out of the blessings of the Messianic reign by some inadvertent mishap. He sought the security of maintaining his life and status far beyond the limits of earthly existence. With his opening comment, however, Jesus began redirecting the conversation off the man's position and status, highlighting the distinction between this man with his intentions and the purposes inherent to God's character.

The man started off by calling Jesus a good teacher, so Jesus turned that back into a recognition that only God is truly good. As this man was focused on deeds, Jesus allowed the conversation to begin with that topic. He reminded this man of the commandments and the fact that this man knew them already. He had already been doing ''the right things'' and avoiding ''the wrong things,'' but he felt or feared something was still missing. In his uncertainty and anxiety to get everything right, he came to Jesus to ask what might be missing in the equation for him to inherit the life of the ages....

...for the full text of this sermon, see All to Follow, at

—©2015 Chri­stopher B. Harbin

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