The story of the rich man, in Mark 10, should be read in proper context. It is not just about rich and poor people. There is a truth that we should give to others less fortunate in love. Yet, God does not expect anyone to sell everything they have and give it to the poor to be forgiven and enter Heaven. In fact, the whole situation described in Mark 10 is about those who believe in SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS that they are justified with God; yet are wretched and condemned. This rich guy was wealthy and was not in need of much. His father left him an enormous inheritance.

He asks Jesus,

“17 Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.” (Mark 10:17-18 KJV)

Jesus knowing his heart replies with following the Law of Moses:

“19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.” (Mark 10:19 KJV)

》 The thing is, no one can keep all the Law of Moses!!

Jesus came to fulfill the Law and is the only one who was sinless in all of human history. Jesus freed us from the Law and gave us Salvation. We know, that from this side of the cross, we are not saved by works but by the grace of God. (Eph. 2:8-9). So what is Jesus really doing and talking about here to this rich guy?

The reply of the rich man is unbelievably naive and self righteous:

“20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.” (Mark 10:20 KJV)

WOW! REALLY? This guy is telling Jesus he has kept all of the Law of Moses which no one has? Really?!?!?

Now we see Jesus’ words react as He does so many times in His earthly ministry to the Jewish people who thought they are saved and justified with God by their Law following and good works. Jesus is going to bury this guy in his self righteousness and replies with:

“21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:21-22 KJV)

Jesus tells the guy,  ‘look here…you are very self righteous and relying on your riches. Give up your riches. Come follow me.’

If he had done so, he would have asked for mercy and acknowledged that he is a wretched sinner like everyone else and would have looked to God for mercy and Salvation. But as many do, he instead would not give up his self righteousness and reliance on riches instead of God.

We see Jesus burying the Jewish people and Pharisees many times in His earthly ministry. Those who were very SELF RIGHTEOUS, relying on their goodness and good works and Law keeping to justify themselves with God. We see Jesus saying things like, ‘pluck out your eyes’ and ‘cut off your hand’ etc. Jesus takes such people to the extreme of self righteousness. Why? Because He was preparing them for the New Covenant of GRACE through Christ crucified. Bringing them to the end of themselves in hopes they would recognize their sinfulness and instead cry out to God for mercy, understanding they can never match up to God’s Holiness and see their need for their Savior and Messiah, Jesus The Christ.

Jesus continues,

“25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

26 And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?

27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 25-27 KJV)

Jesus knew that the New Covenant of the grace of God was coming so that Whosoever believeth on Him shall have eternal life. (John 3)

From the very start to the end of  Jesus’ earthly ministry He proclaimed to be The Christ and Messiah. Believing so means to give up our self righteousness and good works to be forgiven our sins and gain eternal life and instead rely fully on Christ’s FINISHED WORK on the cross; the only atonement for the sins of the whole world. (John 3:14-18, 1 John 2:2, Eph. 2:8-9)


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