Mark 10:17-24 (The Message)
17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?"
18-19Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother."
20He said, "Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!"
21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me."
22The man's face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.
23-25Looking at his disciples, Jesus said, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is for people who 'have it all' to enter God's kingdom?" The disciples couldn't believe what they were hearing, but Jesus kept on: "You can't imagine how difficult. I'd say it's easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for the rich to get into God's kingdom."
I read this passage in Mark this morning and a few things jumped at me and totally hit me between the eyes.
The rich young man was so drawn to the things of this world that he simply could not make the choice between his "stuff" and Jesus. In the end, he chose to go with the material goods rather than go with the grace and love of Christ that leads to eternal life and treasures in heaven. No wonder he went away sad and heavy hearted.
What really strikes me as amazing is this: Jesus loved him! This was a man who turned away from Christ in favor of what this deteriorating world could give him. Compared to GOD, the world is nothing. I have been told that God does not love the unsaved - in fact, He hates them. Yet Jesus, God in the flesh, LOVED this man who could not accept Him!
The KJV says, "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.'" (my emphasis)
I strongly believe that Jesus does indeed love the lost. He is not willing that anyone should perish but that they have eternal life (John 3:16). Still, God is just and will not "bend the rules" so that those who reject salvation get it anyway. In the end, those who do reject Christ will walk away sad and heavy hearted. Their reward will be eternal - only it won't be eternal life and heavenly riches. Eternal death isn't something for which I would want to strive.
Are you telling others about Christ with an urgency? Am I? It's what we need to work toward.
I know that a lot of people do not like to read Scripture from any other version than the King James of old. Some prefer to read the New King James Version. Their reasons for this vary.
I like to read from several versions and translations, as you can probably tell by now. I feel that I can really get a grasp on what God is telling me this way. I often go back to the old King James when I want to be certain that what I'm reading in a newer version is actually what is there. As a side note, though, the King James Version is not the first English version of the Bible. The Geneva Bible is.
If reading from any other version than the King James is offensive, I apologize. You can always read it from your Bible rather than read the one I post in that case.