The Grand Entrance
Mark 11:1-11 1 Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples 2 and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. 3 If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4 And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. 5 And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6 And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7 And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it. 8 And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. 9 And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” 11 And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple. And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
Jesus had performed all kinds of miracles and preached with authority primarily in Galilee which is in Northern Israel. He had drawn all kinds of crowds who were excited to see what He could do. But many of them were following Him for the wrong reasons- they had no interest in repenting of their sins but rather wanted a leader who could give them what they wanted and make their life easier and better. Jesus continues to reinforce that He came to establish a new Kingdom- the spiritual Kingdom of God. He rebukes the religious leader’s false teaching based upon human effort and continues to confirm that He is the Christ and that salvation could be found in and through Jesus Christ alone. He never directly confirms He is the Christ but always indirectly so the religious leaders could not stone Him and yet often they still tried. In spite of the miracles that Jesus performed it became harder to follow Jesus as the Pharisees were against Him and Jesus’ own teaching became harder to deny as He made it more and more clear that genuine repentance and faith was required for any of His followers. It also became harder to follow Jesus as He demonstrated to His disciples that not only would the Jews be a part of this new kingdom but also the Gentiles- individuals from all the foreign nations who were considered terribly wicked people and on the whole not deserving of salvation. While farthest away from Jerusalem, on the farthest edge of Israel, Jesus asks the disciples to tell Him who they think He is? The disciples had begun to follow Jesus because they believed He was the Christ who came to save them but as they had an incorrect understanding of what the Christ would be like and Jesus was far different from what they had expected and so this was a difficult question to answer. Peter still believed and the rest of the twelve agreed and so Jesus reveals a more difficult aspect of who the Christ really is- the Christ had to die. He would soon reign and establish His new Kingdom but first He must die. The disciples could not understand this but they were excited at the opportunity that they would soon reign with Jesus. They continued to follow Jesus in spite of the dangers increasing as the opposition to Jesus increased. It was safer in Galilee, far from Jerusalem, but as Jesus revealed to the disciples again that He was the Christ it was at this point that Jesus set His face specifically towards Jerusalem. There was a tension in the disciples- excitement at the opportunity to soon rule with Jesus but an increasing fear for their own lives. This excitement very much mixed with fear would have only increased in the manner by which Jesus entered into Jerusalem.
Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public display confirming that He was about to establish a new Kingdom. Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public way rejecting the current spiritual authority in Jerusalem. Jesus would enter into Jerusalem in a very public way displaying the types of people that would be in His new Kingdom.
Jesus entered into Jerusalem confirming that He was a king. He allowed the people to worship Him. They said, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” He did not deny what they said. He confirmed it by accepting their worship and He slowly went to the Temple. It took a great part of the day for Him to enter in as He arrived at the Temple late in the day. He connected directly with the people who praised Him. In every way He confirmed that He was a king but He also confirmed that He was establishing a different kingdom in the manner by which He entered. Normally a king would enter in on a chariot wearing armour with soldiers around him. Normally a king displays all his power and might to the people as he parades through the streets. But not so with Jesus. Jesus would enter in on a donkey’s colt sitting on the cloaks of the disciples. No armour. No chariot. No public display of power. Jesus would enter in at the same level as the people that He came in humility to save. The glory of God was manifest in Jesus in the greatest way in His humility and not in clear demonstrations of power.
Nothing could be a greater display of how different Jesus’ Kingdom would be as what was seen in the people who followed Him. There was no escort of soldiers next to Jesus but fishermen, women, beggars, prostitutes, those who were previously blind and lame, even Gentiles. It would have been a shocking sight to see those closest to Jesus by whom Jesus would establish this new Kingdom through. It was those rejected by society who were closest to Jesus. There were no religious elite from Jerusalem walking with Jesus. It would have been mostly the poor and the weak. No expensive gifts or riches were laid before Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem but an impromptu laying of palm branches and cloaks as he went towards the Temple. This march would have posed no threat to the Roman rule in Jerusalem and Israel. The Roman soldiers who watched this sight of Jesus would have looked on in curiosity. How strange? What kind of display was this? What a strange mix of people.
And yet the Pharisees and the religious leaders would have been furious! Jesus, who was causing all kinds of problems in Galilee, was now confirming that He was the Christ in Jerusalem and encouraging the people to worship Him. He was entering as a king and as the Christ. The authority of the spiritual elite in Jerusalem was now directly challenged in a way that Jesus had not yet done before. As Jesus entered into Jerusalem, the spiritual leaders prepared for war. They would do whatever it took to prevent Jesus from replacing them. And so Jesus would die. Are you drawn to Jesus in this description of Jesus entering into Jerusalem or does this mean nothing to you? Is He your King? Do you worship Him? Is He your Savior?
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 10:35-52 35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized, 40 but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at James and John. 42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
46 And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48 And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” 50 And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. 51 And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” 52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.
Jesus continues to teach His disciples at this point in His ministry what it actually means to rule in His Kingdom. Soon Jesus would die and rise again and ascend into heaven leaving His disciples in charge of the Church. The disciples did not yet know that He would leave them physically nor did they understand what it meant that He would die. The one thing that they understood was that they would soon rule in Jesus’ Kingdom and they were excited for this and tried to compete for the favor of Jesus as James and John tried to do to the anger of the rest.
But to rule in the Kingdom of God, to be used by God in this new spiritual Kingdom that Jesus was establishing, meant ruling in a different way than what the disciples had expected. A rich young ruler had come to Jesus and appeared in every way to be the perfect Jew. He was someone who obeyed the law perfectly in an external way. He followed the letter of the law and yet did not understand the spirit of the law. He externally appeared righteous but inwardly his heart was corrupt. Only Jesus could see the true nature of his heart and thus exposes it. The rich young ruler left Jesus dejected and dismayed quite to the surprise of the disciples. This man would not rule in the Kingdom of God. The ruler did not think he needed a Savior as he was justified in his own eyes. He claimed to seek after Jesus but really was only looking for the favor of man. The humility that he showed was a feigned humility. It was all for show.
In contrast to the rich young ruler, as Jesus was leaving Jericho with a great crowd following Him, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus was bothering Jesus. He was so annoying to the crowd as he would not shut up. He was insignificant and a nuisance and a burden on society. He was in every way rejected and looked down upon. The disciples would have walked by him without even realizing he was there (apart from his cry) unlike the rich young ruler who they all watched attentively and had desired to emulate when they would soon rule in Jesus’ Kingdom.
Here was a nobody crying out to Jesus for mercy. Bartimaeus, although blind, recognized Jesus as the Son of David demonstrating that he knew that Jesus was the Christ and he cried out to Jesus for mercy. In spite of being told by the people to be silent, Bartimaeus would not, he could not keep quiet. His heart cried out for the Savior! He was deeply moved in the depths of his being to be in the presence of Jesus. He was not trying to be justified before men but to know Jesus- to be loved by Him. He knew he was a sinner and he cried out to Jesus for mercy.
How does Jesus respond? He heals Bartimaeus and declares that his faith has made him well. The blind beggar demonstrated faith while the rich young ruler did not. The blind beggar immediately followed Jesus while the rich young ruler would not. The blind beggar was the type of person that Jesus was looking for to rule in His Kingdom and not the rich young ruler. Can you see the message that Jesus was teaching His disciples?
To rule in the Kingdom of God is not about position or status or power as the world sees it. As Jesus said in verse 42, “those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.” Everyone knows what authority looks like in society. There is a use of power that is obvious and expected- power that is flaunted and widely known, to rise up higher and higher and to be regarded greater than other men. They are great men because they are viewed as great men and others are not. They are above and others below. But not so in the Kingdom of God. The great men and women of God are the humble and the meek, the servants of all. They are those that would naturally be overlooked and disregarded, not necessarily before they become born again Christians but afterwards. They are not those who are identified with CEOs or presidents in corporations or other positions of authority in society but as associated with prisoners and the poor and the weak. Was this not the case with Jesus who was crucified with the thief on the cross? This thief too would rule in His Kingdom while the high priest in Israel would not.
Never consider your significance as based upon your position in the world. Our significance is found in our relationship to Jesus Christ. You can be a beggar and yet a king in the Kingdom of God! You can be an addict and yet among those who will rule forever with Jesus Christ! How great is the wisdom of God that He can take the least and make them the greatest! But there must be a genuine thirst and need for Jesus Christ. There must be an inward cry for the mercy of God and for the salvation of your soul. Can you see how different the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is from the kingdom of this world? Can you see how different it is to rule in His Kingdom versus what the world promotes and demands?
Pastor Murray Hack
The Cup of Suffering
Mark 10:32-39 32 And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, 33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. 34 And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came up to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” 36 And he said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?” 37 And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” 38 Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized.
We all can struggle with hearing the truth. Even when it is spoken plainly to us we can be oblivious as to what is actually being said. Why? Because with spiritual truth unbelief blinds our hearts. Pride prevents us from responding to the truth as we should and instead we act out in rebellion against God instead of obedience. Ultimately spiritual truth is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit as we respond to God in humility. This is plainly seen in James and John after Jesus declares for the third time that He would die and after three days rise again from the dead.
Just prior to this, the disciples had been deeply confused and concerned as Jesus sent the rich young ruler away. The ruler appeared to be a perfect Jew and was the type of leader that the disciples desired to emulate once Jesus formally established His new kingdom. Ever since Jesus reiterated to them that He indeed was the Christ at Caesarea Philippi the disciples knew that soon, they too by association with Jesus, would rule with Him. But the reality that Jesus would die they glossed over. They couldn’t understand. How could the Christ die? Jesus knew they would not believe (at least not until after the resurrection) and so each time He shares of His coming death and resurrection He provides more details. Now He mentions that He will be delivered by the religious leader over to the Gentiles in order to be killed. He would be mocked, spit upon, beaten and killed. Jesus would drink a cup of suffering. He would not yet be revealed in glory to reign but first would suffer all for all. He needed to provide the way for our salvation in dying for our sins in order that we could be forgiven. The disciples did not understand this. This truth was yet hidden.
So James and John foolishly come to Jesus privately and ask for special favor from Him. Do you ask for special favors from God? Do you go to God in prayer looking to be treated better than those around you? Are you trying to get into God’s “good books?” There can be great comfort in knowing that God treats every person the same. There are no favorites with God. There isn’t a way to gain favor with God or a shortcut to spiritual authority. He loves all of His children the same for those who will repent and believe in Jesus Christ. He loves us with an infinite and perfect love. The way He responds to us will be different based upon our individual personalities and life history and circumstances but we are all equally loved.
How sad it is when we seek God’s glory in the way the world seeks glory- by stepping over others and one upping them. The glory of man is to be the only one standing on the top of the mountain but the glory of God is to become the least among men. The cup of suffering brings down all those who truly know Jesus to an equal level and it shatters and destroys our natural desires for the glory of man. Jesus puts up with James and John’s request because He knows what is coming for them. They would be brought nearly to ruin by Jesus’ death. They would yet be broken.
Do not think that just because you are now a Christian that you have yet been set free from the trappings of this world. Our concern about what others think of us can and will deeply limit in what manner God may use us for His Kingdom. But what a blessing is the cup of suffering! Every true child of God will be forced to taste this cup. The cup of suffering is a right of passage for every true believer. There is no way to escape it. It is God’s method of breaking every Christian and bringing us into the right relationship with God where we place the needs of others above our own. We exalt others in the Kingdom of God because we are not concerned about our own position. We are not afraid of what others think of us because we know what God thinks of us. He loves us all the same. We are His children! I know that Jesus died for me! In spite of all our shortcomings and our insecurities and our sinful past and our ongoing struggles, He is at work in us! He is transforming us! And we thank Him for bringing us to drink from the cup of suffering!
I am not speaking of the cup of sin. In the book of Revelation is a picture of a woman with a golden cup full of all of her evils.
Revelation 17:4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality.
The reality is that every sin comes with a curse. The taste that seemed sweet in the moment always turns bitter and there are always eternal consequences apart from true repentance. Every unbeliever is storing up wrath for the day of wrath:
Romans 2:5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
The unbeliever does not know about this cup of suffering that the disciples would soon taste. They cannot know. For the cup of suffering for believers is a blessing. It is opposite of the cup of sin. The cup of suffering for the believer is at first bitter but then it becomes sweet. It is always hard but it brings the transformation that is absolutely necessary for us to be used by God for greater things. Once we have tasted of the cup of Jesus’ suffering we know Him in a way we never knew Him before. Have you tasted of this cup? Do you know Jesus in this way?
Pastor Murray Hack
The Promise of Spiritual Blessings
Mark 10:23-31 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Jesus had just sent the rich young ruler away because he was not willing to give up everything to follow Jesus. This shocked the disciples as based upon outward appearance the rich young ruler was the perfect Jew and was the exact type of ruler that the disciples desired to be like in Jesus’ new kingdom that He was soon going to establish. They were unable to discern the true spiritual condition of the rich young ruler. The disciples still did not understand that Jesus was going to establish a new spiritual kingdom as He would form the Church: the body of Christ- a kingdom of individuals from every tribe and nation worshipping Him as their Lord and Savior. They had expected Israel to once again rise in prominence and to rule the world.
It devastated the disciples to see this ruler sent away. It made them question how anyone could be saved. In sending the ruler away their own hopes for the future were crushed. Jesus makes it clear that it is impossible through human effort for any man to be saved. Salvation is totally of God as He draws us to Himself and leads us into repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. It is at this point that Jesus encourages His disciples. Their hopes had been crushed and so He rebuilds them. He confirms to them that they were born again. They had given up everything to follow Jesus. And He confirms to them that they would indeed rule in His Kingdom. In Matthew 19:28 Jesus says:
Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
In all these things Jesus was preparing His disciples for His departure. In order for them to lead His Church they needed to shake this false idea that they would soon rule over Israel in glory and splendor. They would rule over the twelve thrones of Israel in the new world- in the future perfect eternal Kingdom of God but not yet. For now they had to become the last. For now they had to be willing to be mistreated by family. For now they had to be willing to give up material wealth and earthly pleasure. For now they had to be willing to be persecuted. The Church is composed of believers filled with humility living in a manner that is absolutely contrary to the world sharing the Good News to a lost and dying world. Based upon outward appearances the Church is weak and foolish but in reality it is filled with spiritual power and blessings.
Jesus confirms to His disciples that every true follower of Him will receive a hundredfold blessing in this lifetime. In spite of the hardship and rejection experienced by following Jesus, in spite of the sacrifice and persecution that will come, the blessings of following Jesus far exceed the life that we once lived. There is a hundredfold blessing in this lifetime for all who follow Jesus. The spiritual blessings that we receive for being in union with Jesus Christ are far and above anything the world can offer. The riches that the young ruler possessed were nothing compared to the spiritual blessings that the disciples had already experienced by following Jesus and the many, many amazing experiences yet to come. Pentecost was soon coming when divided tongues as of fire would rest upon each one of them and they would be filled with the Holy Spirit. They would see the Good News of Jesus Christ spread around the world.
But even greater than the spiritual blessings promised in this lifetime to every true follower of Jesus is the future promise of eternal life! If we only knew what eternal life is really like we would have no trouble in sacrificing here and now for Jesus Christ! If we only knew the reality of the perfect eternal Kingdom of God we would turn away from all temptation to evil that surrounds us here and now and we would be willing to suffer all in proclaiming the Good News to the lost around us! The disciples were not yet fully living their lives in light of this future glory. They were still looking for glory upon this earth. How foolish are we in seeking the same? Let us set our eyes heavenward and live here and now in the light of the glory that awaits us and not think that it is here and now that we are living for. Why would anyone want the glory of this broken world? Why would anyone want the fading glory that can be found in a sinful world? Live for what is to come! Live in humility and sacrifice for your Lord and your Savior Jesus Christ! Live as the least and not as the greatest and you will be amazed at who you will become in the future. Jesus Christ will raise you up to glory if you are truly living your life for Him- if you are willing to submit to Him in every way and to fulfill His will for your life. He intends to use you for His glory here and now and to one day in the future reveal His glory within you!
Can you see how Jesus is slowly breaking down the disciples false ideas of what it means to be in His Kingdom? Do you still have false ideas of what it means to follow Jesus? If you are truly born again, you are progressively being sanctified; you are progressively being made holy. You are already separated from the world; you have been set apart unto God and are no longer of this world. You belong to Him! You are a child of God! Do not keep looking at the world around you as if you still belong to it. You are already in the spiritual Kingdom of God. The disciples struggled to understand this and we can struggle in the same way. Let go of your false ideas of what it means to be in the Kingdom of God. Submit to the teachings of Jesus Christ and He will lead you into untold blessings here and now and in the future eternal life. One day we will rule with Jesus Christ! One day we will be exalted! One day we will be glorified with Him forever! In light of the future glory we live here and now as servants of Jesus Christ in all humility.
Pastor Murray Hack
Mark 10:17-27 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
At this point in Jesus’ public ministry He had told His disciples that He would soon formally establish His Kingdom but that He would die and rise again. They could not understand this and fell back in their thinking that Jesus, as the Christ, would rule over the nation of Israel and they became excited that they would be soon given authority and power to rule beside Him. There was still so much about the spiritual Kingdom of God that Jesus was establishing that they did not understand. They were not yet ready to rule with Him even though the disciples in their own minds believed that they were ready. They were proud and needed correction.
A rich young ruler appears before Jesus and begins to question Him. In every respect this was an admirable man. He was probably not unlike Saul who became the first king over Israel. He was likely tall, handsome, strong, wealthy, smart and well respected by the people. He would have been highly regarded by the Jews as a man of God who strictly followed the Old Testament law. In every way this man would have been recognized as a great leader and only greater things could await him. Based upon outward appearance he was the perfect man- the perfect Jew. This man would have made the disciples think to themselves, “Could I rule in Jesus’ kingdom like this ruler?” And yet this rich young ruler was not born again. He had not yet even entered into the Kingdom of God that Jesus was establishing. He was still on the outside and yet he was highly regarded and respected by all of the people. He was a great man and yet lost and would be lost forever unless he came to a place of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
Of course Jesus could see the spiritual condition of this rich young ruler. He could see the wicked state of his heart in spite of the external greatness that was hiding his lost soul. But how shocking that this man was outside the Kingdom of God! For even when he approaches Jesus he knelt before Him in what appears to be humility and asks Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Whatever motivation was for the ruler to ask Jesus this question we know that it was impure because of how Jesus responds. He says, “No one is good except God alone.” Based upon Jesus’ response it is obvious that the rich young ruler did not recognize Jesus as the Christ- the Son of God in the flesh. The ruler had knelt before Jesus in all likelihood looking to be praised for his actions but he was unwilling to bow his heart before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Deep down the ruler was ruling his own kingdom apart from Jesus Christ and was unwilling to give up his authority to the authority of God.
As Jesus reviews the Ten Commandments relating to loving your neighbor as yourself, the ruler confirms his belief that he is innocent before God. He cannot see the condition of his corrupt heart. Jesus tells him to sell all that he has and to follow Him but he is unwilling to do so. The ruler leaves Jesus’ presence in great sorrow. How shocking and confusing for the disciples to see what had transpired. Why did Jesus make it so difficult for this man? This great man left in disappointment whom the disciples would have expected to be a great asset to Jesus. This ruler could have opened great doors for Jesus and provided an “in” to the leaders in Jerusalem. But Jesus’ Kingdom is not of this world. He does not rule with anyone but is ruler over all. He does not need the help of any great man to establish His Kingdom. His Kingdom is above all.
The reality is that every single person who is a true follower of Jesus must be willing to surrender everything they have, including their very life, to Jesus Christ. If we are not willing to give up everything we cannot be in His Kingdom. He does not necessarily expect us to sell all that we have and become physically poor to become a Christian. But we must be willing to become spiritually poor and naked before Him. We must bow our heart before Him and not just in a form of external show as the rich young ruler. We must truly be sad over our sin and our sin nature to the point where we genuinely repent and not just become sad that it is difficult to follow Jesus and leave His presence disheartened. We will never experience the joy of being in the Kingdom of God if we do not first taste the sadness and difficulty of genuine repentance.
Jesus taught the disciples at this point that they could not recognize the true spiritual condition of a human soul. They said to Jesus, “Then who can be saved?” They were not ready to rule. Jesus humbled them through His dealings with the rich young ruler. He once again shook the foundations of what they thought they believed. In order to prepare them to rule within His Kingdom which was spiritual in nature they still needed correction and preparation.
Are you still like the rich young ruler? Are you trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle? Are you trying to do the impossible in ruling your own kingdom and yet thinking you can still be in the Kingdom of God? There can only be one ruler and that is Jesus Christ. Submit to Him. Surrender to Him. Or, are you like the disciples at this point? Are you a born again Christian but you still look at the world around primarily through your physical eyes? Do you think that the Kingdom of God is primarily about material wealth and status and honor and recognition among men? Do you wrongly assess the spiritual condition of those around you? Let Jesus humble you as He humbled the disciples here. Without this change you will not see clearly.
Pastor Murray Hack
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.