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TITLE: COMMITMENT TO CHRIST
SCRIPTURE: MARK 10:13-22
DATE: October 25, 2020
WELCOME AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:
OPENING : Committed to Christ, What does that mean? What is something you’re really enjoyed being committed to? On page 95 of your Personal Study Guide it says, “Our commitments reveal what we love and whom we love.
In our lesson we are going to look at 2 events, the little children gathering around Christ and the rich young ruler as told to us by Mark. I had just assumed these events took place in Jerusalem during Passion Week but in really looking at them, they were earlier. He was in Capernaum (Mark 9:33) which was at the very top of the Sea of Galilee. where he taught and preached. Then He went over to the west side of the sea then down the west bank of the Jordan to Judea. It appears this is on the trip to Jerusalem but still out in what we would call flyover country.
In November of 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated. We have all seen the pictures of that motorcade with people lining the streets, watching, waving and taking pictures. That is what people do. They did now, in 1963 and AD33. Verse 10:1 tells us that multitudes gathered all along His route and that He was accustomed to that happening. He usually took those opportunities to speak and heal. So He was speaking and little children tried to press through the crowd and get close to Him.
First Scripture: Mark 10:13-16
People were bringing their children to Christ that He might touch them. In the old days, the norms were much different than they are now. For those knowledgeable of old country music, Little Jimmy Dickens sang about the norm of that time with a song called, “Take a Cold Tater and Wait.” That song clearly pointed out how the children had to wait and eat well after the adults had their fill. If they were hungry, then take a cold potato to tide you over as you waited for whatever leftovers there would be.
The point is, children we not thought to be even on the importance scale, much less low on it. They could just take a cold tater and wait.
Verse 13 tells us that the disciples were the ones telling the children to take a cold tater and wait. The men who knew more of who Jesus is than anyone else on earth yet they didn’t understand. You see, in their adultish and social norms mindset, they thought Jesus should see the “important” people first. Yet they really did not know who the important people really were. In verse 14 it says Jesus was greatly displeased by their actions. He establishes a new norm for the disciples and the hearers to digest, these little children is what the Kingdom of God really is. Our access to the Kingdom depends us coming as these little children came. In (1 Cor. 13:11) Paul is telling us that we have to grow and put away childish things. Take responsibility, “woman up” or “man up” know that what was cute as a child can be pretty disturbing as a teen or adult. Yet for entry into the Kingdom, Jesus reverses 1 Cor 13:11 in that He is saying for this one thing, coming to Christ, put away adult things and come as a child. He said the same to Nicodemus in (John 3:1-6). So the unimportant, the least of these became the model for how we get though the door.
When we picture this event we picture the children at an age of maybe 4 through 8 or 9. So the family may have walked 5 or more miles to be there. How many of them do you think could have gotten back home alone? Yet they pressed forward to Jesus. There is an old hymn that says, “ I don’t know about tomorrow, but I know who holds my hand.” That is the commitment the children showed and their parents showed.
Over and over we are told to prepare. From the gathering of 2 days worth of manna on Friday in Exodus to the wise and the foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-10. Take up your self reliance, pull yourself up by your bootstraps and many other axioms are shared in the Bible and in the secular. But to begin our relationship with Christ, we must come as a little child, putting aside our knowledge and intellect as an adult. This is the giving up of ones self. It is a surrender of what we think is our ability to reason and analyze what “good” is and who Christ is. I think it was Thomas Jefferson who said that for him not to use the full extent of his God given knowledge would, in his opinion be an affront to God who gave it. But for us to do so is for us to try and come to God claiming and showing some degree of righteousness, ability to reason with, and debate with God. In his mind Thomas Jefferson could not “reason” the resurrection by his own intellect therefore he refused to come as a little child and accept it. Paul completed 1 Cor. 13this way, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly but then face to face.”
Children are more likely to openly debate with their parents now but then it was pretty well unheard of. Christ requires us to place a child like faith in Him. A faith we cannot adult reason or rationalize.
QUESTION 2 When have you seen someone come to Christ with a child like faith?
Second Scripture: Mark 10:17-22
We are going to combine the last 2 scriptures and look at this event in whole and in comparison to the “little children” one above.
So Jesus is on the move again, leaving the little children and suddenly a person runs up. The picture of this that I have is a person who waits until Christ is out of site of his “buddies” and then does the not gentleman like thing of running. Someone might see him go to Jesus but he first analyzes and minimizes who that might be.
Second, he addresses Jesus as “Good Teacher.” According to the commentaries I read, the use of the word “good” was pretty much reserved to address God the Father. We used to use the term “in crowd” for what we now call elites. This man was a member of the in crowd but he put himself at risk to come to Jesus and we can tell he was under a great conviction by him essentially calling Jesus “God.” Today we would say the Holy Spirit was working on him.
He asks what he must do to have eternal life. What he meant, but did not say was what must he do to keep one foot in the earth and under his control and to obtain eternal life with one foot of surrender and effort.
Jesus being Jesus, immediately see where his weakness is and skips the Commandments about the relationship with God and goes directly to the relationship with others here on earth. Jesus clicks them off, no adultery, no murder, no stealing, no false witness, no defrauding and honor your father and mother. The rich young ruler replies, “I have kept all that since I became an adult” which in the Jewish religion is 13 years of age. Do you believe that? Do you think he even believed that?
In Jesus laying out those Commandments, He used one, Commandment 10 a little differently in that He used the word “defraud” rather than “covet.” Jesus knew this person and loved this person as He does every person. He also knew what this rich young ruler was determined to hold back so that is where He went. Sell you assets and give the money away the rich young ruler was told. Put another way, pick up that foot that is standing on and protecting treasures on earth and let them blow away while putting your foot back down protecting treasures in heaven.
QUESTION 3, Why was this man’s obedience not good enough
QUESTION 4, What obstacles keep some people from total commitment to Christ?
CLOSING: This man wanted it all and all on his terms. The price of giving up all he had gain, no matter how he had gained it, was simply too great. Like Jefferson he turned away sad.
The apparent issue here is he had been blessed and given stewardship over a lot but was defrauding those in need that he could have helped. Of course only Jesus acting through the Holy Spirit can tell us that and even then this person was not forced to do the right thing. But this rich young ruler held the power in his hand to do this one thing, share his blessings, and he did not and was not going to. He was willing to pay a price but not the price. He went away sad. Jesus was sad too. I am sure Jesus, with pain in his heart, wished and prayed that this rich young ruler was more like a little child.