Saturday, October 06, 2007

If not the Gospel, then what? Mark 10 part 2

So last entry I went on a little rant about how the passage of Mark 10:17-24 was not talking about salvation entirely (although I'll admit the topic is touched) but I failed to go on to say what it is about. Well here we go

The rich young ruler comes to Jesus and says "what do I need to do to inherent eternal life". Here is where the topic is touched. The man is inquiring into the subject of eternal life, but remember what nationality he is. He is a Jewish man. From the Christian standpoint when we think of eternal life we think the sweet by and by of heaven forever and ever (which may not be the most accurate view of the afterlife but that is irrelevent). What is the Jewish view of eternal life? Life in the Kingdom that was promised to David. One in which the Messiah would put all of Israel's enemies under his feet and sit on the throne in Jerusalem forever. This is what a Jew is expecting for eternal life and unlike what some critics say this would be accurate for a Jew to believe. The Kingdom is coming and it will be eternal with the Messiah sitting on the throne. So when this rich young ruler says "what must I do to inherit eternal life" he is essentially asking "how may I enter the Kingdom."

What is required of a Jewish person, before the Cross, to enter the Kingdom. Is it not obedience to the Mosaic Law? Anytime they were ever punished in the Old Testament, check it out, its because they broke the law. Sometimes they would break the law and then offer sacrifice. This would still be considered "keeping the law" since God knew they would make mistakes. If mistakes were not an option God wouldn't have extended them the grace of sacrifices. Sometimes we see that they would continually be committing a sin, with no intentions of change, but still offering sacrifice. God was not pleased with that at all and would ask them to stop sacrificing. What was the gospel of the kingdom in the 4 gospels? "Repent, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Now notice to repent means to turn back to. The only thing the Jews would have possibly needed to turn back to would have been God and His law. And there were some who were ready for this Kingdom spiritually speaking. I think this rich young ruler was one of those, unlike what many people will say, as he was keeping the law (although the Scriptures don't tell us if his heart was near God or not).

So what did he lack? Christ told him that he lacked only one thing. Lacking for what? Eternal life? Christ tells us what he is lacking. He is lacking "Treasure in Heaven". This man is being implied in the text of going to the Kingdom. He just doesn't have any treasure there. He is rich in this life, but in the Kingdom he has stored nothing up for himself. The issue becomes a lack, not of eternal life, but one of treasure.

He is then told to sell his things and follow Christ. The man didn't want to do this since he was a rich young ruler. He didn't want to give up what he had, his wealth, and he didn't want to follow Christ. It interesting, to start the man had called Jesus good. Jesus reminds him that only God is good, but it seems to me what is going on is this man is expressing that he believes Jesus is a pretty important guy, possibly the Messiah. It would make sense why he asked Jesus how to enter the Kingdom. If he thought Jesus was the Messiah of that Kingdom the logic is there. However, if he was thinking that Jesus was the Messiah he did not think that it would be worthwhile to give up his treasure now to have treasure in the imminent kingdom the Messiah would usher in. Poor choice, showing his heart was not actually near to God at all, it was near to money.

In conclusion it might seem that I talked about at first him being saved and then second that he wasn't saved. I'm not really saying one way or the other but what I am saying is for a Jew to enter the Kingdom he had to be made ready by the Messiah. Righteousness is essential for Kingdom entrance. This man was also not ready for the Kingdom as demonstrated by not rallying to the Messiah and secondly by not wanting treasure in the that Kingdom. So in the end the passage is talking about treasure in the Kingdom, rather that being saved from hell.

(open for discussion :-) )

1 comment:

kevin k said...

Jon! how is it going man. Good bloggin here!
If i could suggest some thoughts on this passage... It seems Jesus' main ministry was convincing the Jews of their personal sin, and need of a savior (not just a savior from the gov.s of the world, but a savior from sin). They have a whole history which bespeaks of the utter sinfulness of all man, but (like each of us do) they were prone to think that somehow sin didnt get to them. The heart must see its sinfulness before it can understand the need to be "saved." Just last week this passage came up in the context of some new thoughts. This Rich young ruler was just one in a long line of Israelites who didnt think sin applied to them. It is a stretch to think he had kept all the law as it should be understood, but Jesus pointed out the one Law that he fell short on... "treat your neighbor as yourself" He was unwilling. gotta run to class, later bro.
kevin