Summary: Jesus designs a different solution for each person. If you have a competing god ruling your life, Jesus will give you a unique word to replace that god with the true and Living God.
Have you ever left home and had a funny feeling you have forgotten something? You don’t know what it was, but you just had this nagging feeling. A man said every time his family drove off for a vacation, his mom would say, “Honey, we’ve got to go back home, I think I left the iron turned on. I don’t want the house to burn down.” His dad would turn around and they would go back and check and the iron would be turned off. This continued for several trips. Finally on one trip, when she told her husband to turn around and go check, he didn’t say a word. He pulled the car over to the shoulder, got out and opened the trunk and handed her the iron.
Our passage today introduces us to a young man searching for something. He’s often called the Rich Young Ruler. Matthew tells us he was a young man; Luke describes him as a ruler, or what we would call an aristocrat. And Matthew, Mark, and Luke tell us he was rich. He was a man who had two things, everything and nothing. He was wealthy and successful, but he turned away from Jesus with nothing. He was searching for something more in life.
Millions of people are searching for something they really can’t even put their finger on what it is they’re searching for. In 1987 Bono and the Irish rock group U2 recorded a song about this universal search. He sang: “I have run; I have crawled; I have scaled these city walls; Only to be with you. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” He even ends the song referring to Jesus. “You broke the bonds; And you loosed the chains; Carried the cross of my shame; Oh my shame, you know I believe it. But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.”
Bono is now 55, and over the last few years he has become much more vocal about his faith. He granted an interview to Focus on the Family a couple of years ago in which he made it clear he has found what he was looking for—a relationship with Jesus. By the way Bono’s real name is Paul David Hewson and he wears sunglasses indoors because he suffers from glaucoma. He said, “‘Who is Christ’ is a defining question for a person. You’re not let off easily by saying a great thinker or philosopher. He went around saying he was the Messiah. He was crucified because he said he was the son of God. He either was the son of God or nuts. And I find it hard to accept that millions of lives have felt their lives touched and inspired by some nut. I don’t believe it.”
Two thousand years ago, there was a young, wealthy, successful leader who came to Jesus looking for something.
Mark 10:17-31. As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”