Summary: Many of us say we are committed to Christ but like the rich young ruler, we don’t realize what all that entails.
Mark 10:17-22 tells of one of the most compelling encounters that I believe Jesus ever had.
It tells of a young man who came to Jesus with a question that had no dobut been on his mind for a very long time. In fact, the Bible says that he came running to Jesus.
When I think of someone running to someone, it conjures up a variety of images. "Running to someone" can bring to mind many things.
For one thing, we often run to someone in case of emergency. Working on the fire department, I can tell you that we never arrive at the scene of an emergency of any kind and walk up to it.
I mean, can you see it? A group of firefighters ride up on a structure fire, a motor vehicle accident, a medical emergency, and they all get up and walk to the scene.
It never happens!
They jump off that truck and RUN to the emergency. They recognize that the situation is urgent and they know the solution.
Can you imagine that rich young ruler as he ran? He had long been searching for eternal life. He had money, he had power, he had influence. But he did not have the answer to that burning question on his heart... how to find eternal life!
To him, it was an urgent situation. I often imagine him as a man who was looking for that one thing he had not yet acquired. And that one thing, he knew, was the most important thing he could acquire. And he wanted it!
And in Jesus, he saw the solution. He saw the one Man who had the answer he needed.
Hurry now! Don’t let Him get away! Find out what it is you’ve been wanting to know!
And then he knelt.
Now, kneeling indicates something totally different.
Kneeling, getting down on one or both knees, indicates reverence, respect, submission.
Citizens of England are requested to kneel before royalty.
Why? As an indication that they recognize, if nothing else, the title the royal subject holds. It is an indication of respect.
It is also an indication of humility.
On June 23, 2000, I got down on one knee at Medieval Times in Dallas in front of about 40 of our closest family members and friends and asked Danna to marry me.
You know what I was saying at that moment... literally?
"Danna, I love you and know that God had something in mind when we met each other. I believe that you complete me in every way. And so, I am wanting to put all pride aside, all pretensions that I am some big man or that I have any ounce of self importance, and I am asking you, imploring you, to spend the rest of your life with me as my wife."
Now, that’s not really what I said. I think it was more along the lines of "Here... will you?
But what I didn’t say with my mouth, I communicated when I knelt.
So, we see the rich young ruler running to Jesus out of a sense of urgency, a sense of emergency. But when he gets to Jesus, it occurs to Him who it is he is approaching. This is the Good Teacher that he has heard so much about. This is the one with the answers he has been searching for! And suddenly, he is in awe and it humbles him.
And he kneels.
And out of a sense of emergency and out of a sense of respect and reverence, comes the question:
"Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
And from Jesus comes a statement:
"You know the commandments."
As I looked at that scripture again while preparing this, I got to thinking:
Jesus wasn’t giving the answer at that point.
You notice He didn’t say "Here is the answer" or "This one thing you must do."
That’s because that is not really where the answer lies. It is not in just following the rules. That’s what the Pharisees tried to say. They made salvation and serving God all about keeping the rules.
But the Apostle Paul pointed out in I Corinthians 13 that it takes more than following the rules and keeping them.
"Though I give all my goods to the poor and have not love... it profits me nothing."
Because the way to Heaven isn’t about keeping the rules or being good.
Jesus said in John 14:6: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man gets to the Father except by Me."
That’s the answer to eternal life.. a relationship with Jesus.
But see, that’s where Jesus was going with the rich young ruler.
Because to have a relationship with Him means more than just to know His commandments. To have a relationship with Jesus means putting Him above all else.