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Last week, we had church in the park
That is a wonderful time of rest and unity in the Body of Christ.
I am so grateful we can participate in an activity like this.
I want to recap the summertime sermon series we have embarked upon.
We are talking about the Gospel in the Gospels
Briefly explain the Gospels
Our world has presented a Gospel that looks very different from the Gospel Jesus presented.
It is our goal to look at how Jesus presented the Gospel and take note of what He identifies as the Gospel.
In the start of this series, we are looking at interactions Jesus had with various people and how He presented the Gospel to them
After this, we will look at some of the stories Jesus told and mine from that the Gospel He was sharing.
Today’s story is fascinating, because it demonstrates one of the starkest differences between how we in our culture present the Gospel and how Jesus presented the Gospel
I don’t want to take a hard line on people just to be hard.
I think Jesus presentation of the Gospel was done in the way He did it because there are critical elements of the Gospel that need to be embraced.
When they are not embraced, Jesus lets them walk away.
Diving into this topic, I want to get a few things out that clear up some misunderstandings of this text.
I’m hoping that as we line this text up with Jesus’ other Gospel interactions with people, we will see what Jesus is saying and why.
Why is this guy called the “Rich, Young, Ruler”?
This interaction is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
This was a significant moment that the disciples of Jesus noticed.
Each of the accounts basically say the same things, although each one adds their own perspective to the story.
In all three accounts, we see this man was wealthy.
Mark highlights that as the man came to Jesus, he fell on his knees asking about eternal life
Luke highlights that he was a ruler
Matthew mentions that he was a young man.
So as we look at this story, we can look at all three eyewitness accounts and piece together a comprehensive account of this Gospel presentation.
He is called the Rich, Young Ruler because he was rich, he was young, and he was a ruler.
Also, this passage has been twisted by many people to make points that aren’t the intent of this story.
In my sermon prep group, a few of the messages drawn from this passage include:
Miscommunications of Matthew 19:16-22
Give all of your money to the church
Salvation is about works, not faith
Jesus wants everyone to give up everything
Build a teaching (or theology) on one verse out of context
It is my hope to present the Gospel in this passage in an accurate and contextual way.
With that being said, there are some inherent potholes in this story that we will do well to avoid in order to get the big picture.
As we dive into this story, it seems that Jesus was handed a softball.
I don’t think that I have ever been sitting in McDonald's and had someone come up to me and say, “I would really like to become a Christian.
Could you help me?”
Basically, this is what happened to Jesus.
He didn’t go seeking after this guy.
In fact, in our world, it seems that much of the work in evangelism is trying to get the person to realize they have a need for salvation.
That work was already done.
This guy knew he needed salvation.
Not to mention, that this guy had so much to offer Jesus!
He had wealth!
He had influence!
He was young and seemed to be well on the right track in life
Could you imagine what benefit this guy could bring to Jesus’ ministry!
The other disciples were likely looking at this saying, “We are on our way to the big time now!
However, we look at the end of the story and see that this guy walked away sad.
What happened?
Did Jesus miss a great opportunity?
Did he not know how great it would be to have this guy as a disciple?
Did he hear the wrong message?
Jesus was handed what we in our world would see as a gimme.
But Jesus let it pass.
The question of “Why?” is what we are going to tackle today.
By answering the question “Why?” we will come to a new understanding of the Gospel and what Jesus offers, and what our part is in this.
It says, “Just then”
What happened before this was that a bunch of kids were coming to Jesus and the disciples were trying to get rid of the little kids.
Jesus didn’t push the kids away, rather He said that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those like these children.
As that moment was concluding, this man came to Jesus and as Mark says, he fell on his knees before Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
I have four observations of this verse and they are very important:
First, this man had the right motive
What did he want?
He wanted eternal life.
This is a good thing.
There are a few implications to his request.
First of all, as a ruler, we know that he likely held some position of esteem and leadership in the Jewish world.
We see later in this text that he knows the law and has strived to follow the law.
This is important, because despite knowing the Old Covenant and the law, he realized something very, very important.
Following the law would not bring him eternal life.
This is significant.
He knew he needed eternal life.
He did not see the Jewish way of religion as being capable of giving eternal life
In this man, I believe we see a person who is in turmoil in his life.
This man was perceptive and wise beyond many, or even all of those who came to him because of this.
He had the right motive for wanting eternal life
Second, he had the right attitude
As he approached Jesus, he fell at Jesus feet (book of Mark) and said, “Teacher”
Saying “Teacher” was very perceptive and incredibly important.
I want you to highlight this word in your Bible.
We will return to this word later in the sermon.
But we can see his posture before Jesus
By acknowledging Jesus as “Teacher” it implied that he desired to learn.
His mind was open to the teaching that Jesus would give.
We can see in both Matthew and Mark that this event was done publically in the middle of the day.
He wasn’t like Nicodemus who came to Jesus on a rooftop at night, lurking in the shadows.
This man didn’t care who saw him.
He wanted eternal life and made it his public plea.
He had been religious all of his life, yet something was missing.
Third, he came to the right source
The Rich Young Ruler recognized that Jesus is the source of eternal life.
He was a religious man.
He knew the discussion around eternal life.
There were some in that society that said, “When you die, you die”.
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