Anglican Morning Devotion for 9 June 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, 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. 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. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 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 10:17-22; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
This is a sad story of one who wished to be saved but was bound down by wealth and prestige. There are a couple of background facts concerning the man who came to Jesus in our text: 1) he was young (Matt 19:20); 2) he was a ruler (Luke 18:18); and 3) he was wealthy (Mark 10:22). He seemed to b a morally sound young man by the social standards of the day, but no man can be good enough to merit salvation.
How did the rich, young ruler come to Christ? Commendably, he came as we all should come – RUNNING! What was his attitude toward Christ? It was respectful and humble – he kneeled before the Lord and paid him the politeness of “Good Master.’ This was the young man’s first mistake in failing to refer to Jesus as Lord. Master was an honorific term for teacher. Moreover, for the Hebrews of that day, only God was entitled to be called GOOD. But the young man did not seem to know that Jesus was also God.
“What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” This question, though sincere, was totally wrong as relates to salvation – no one can inherit eternal life by doing good works. How did Christ respond? “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. ” Jesus is gently testing the young man’s understanding to determine if he truly KNEW that Jesus was GOOD because Jesus was also God. Jesus then lays out a great truth, but impossible to satisfy: “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.” Our Lord quotes the fifth through the ninth Commandments. Why? Because He is about to point out a truth hidden to the young man. The young man answered, “Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”
It is likely that the young man truly believed this, but Jesus did not quote the first four Commandments or the tenth for a reason. What was it? The young man had not kept even the First Commandment, nor the following three that describes our duty to God. Neither did Jesus quote the Tenth Commandment because it referred to the young man’s major impediment to salvation – covetousness. Covetousness establishes another god besides God the Almighty. Love of money separates us from the love of God. Our Lord is pointing out to the young man that he not only had not kept all the Commandments, but not even the First or the Last Commandment.
“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.” Jesus knew that the wealth of the young man had come between himself and his God. Money is an inanimate resource – it lacks any moral value, good or bad; but the LOVE of money is the salient factor that leads to idolatry. If the young man could cast off the one thing that eclipsed his fellowship with God (i.e., wealth), his heart would be unburdened by that idolatry and he would have no impediment blocking his coming to the Lord. Any material object that comes between our souls and the Sun of Righteousness eclipses that Light of Life just as the moon may at times eclipse the Solar sun. This last challenge the young man could not endure for he had much wealth.
There may be some material or spiritual consideration blocking your own fellowship with God – money, sex, drugs, alcohol, ungodly politics, etc. Whatever it is that is blocking that fellowship is of no value at all compared with the eternal consequences of allowing anything to come between you and the Lord. Cast it aside and take up the cross and follow Christ – NOW and TODAY!