The Passion of God For the Impossible
Text: Mark 10:13- 31
Proposition: The passion of God for the impossible reaches past our perceptions of importance, capability and worthiness and opens the way to His kingdom.
Introduction: God has a passion for the impossible. That a man and wife in their 90’s should be the ones that God chose to have a son is clearly impossible. That a Hebrew slave should grow up to be a prince of Egypt is impossible, that a Jewish girl should become a Persian queen, that a shepherd boy should defeat a Philistine giant, that lepers discover the way to freedom for an entire city, that axe heads float or a widow be blessed with an unending jar of oil… these things are impossible. That God should choose a virgin to give birth but that this most incredible of births be in a barren stable that had at its best a manger of straw for her new born, this is impossible. That the Almighty, all knowing, all present and never changing God should enter into this humanity so characterized by unbelief, distrust and an ever changing approach to truth is more than impossible… and yet God has a passion for the impossible. I wonder why that is so. Is it to take us always by surprise, is it to teach us what we cannot learn otherwise, is it to invite us into an understanding of the extravagance of His grace and generosity that are part of what compose His glory? It’s like explaining sight to a blind person, they can imagine what you and I can only see. We see impossibility but to the eyes of God the truth of what He desires is limitless. I think that the passion of God for the impossible reaches past our perceptions, past our capabilities and past our worthiness, and He opens the way for you and I to enter into His eternal world. Look at Mark 10:13-31.
I. Learn to Recognize the Way God Values Trust and Dependence . Jesus had been in the house speaking to the disciples about marriage and God’s great purposes for it when all of a sudden there’s a knock at the door and standing there is a young father and a mother with an infant in her arms. There is no health issue, the baby is not sick. The parents want Jesus to take the child in His arms and bless the little one. Before the disciples could even begin to respond they see that this couple is not alone, there is another and then another. They saw no pressing need and began to rebuke the parents for wasting Jesus time. To the sure surprise of all, Jesus becomes upset with the disciples and tells them that unless all people receive the kingdom of God like these infants then they will in no way enter into God’s kingdom. What did such a phrase mean, were these infants considered by Jesus to have already entered into the kingdom of God? If the kingdom of God is the rule of God in our hearts and life by which eternal life is imparted to us then how could such infants have become capable of repenting and believing in Jesus as their Savior? I think these were just infants, they weren’t super infants that could bend bars of steel with their teeth and comprehend the deep truths of repentance and belief in Jesus. What Jesus makes reference to is the trust and dependence that these little ones live by. By themselves they can do nothing, if they don’t abide with their parents they will not grow or even survive, these infants did not lean upon their own understanding, in all their ways they acknowledged their parents and their parents directed their paths. The thing is, Jesus asks that these same truths would be what grown up adults would learn to value as the means for knowing God and for entering into His kingdom world by trust and dependence in Him. Frankly, knowing the knocks that life can bring your way and the disappointments people offer, trust and dependence in God in this way are impossible. Wondrously God causes certain God ordained events like parents lining up to have their children blessed by Jesus to catch our attention. He uses the words of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit to open our understanding, to invite our heart and knee to bow in agreement with Him. God has a passion for the impossible. Even today, open your heart to Him, trust Him as you never have before.
II. Learn To Recognize What Capabilities God Really Loves. Jesus and the disciples leave the house and as they start down the road this young man comes rushing up to them and kneels at the feet of Jesus. In the parallel accounts of Matthew 19 and Luke 18 we learn that this young man was quite intelligent, he’d become very rich, he was a ruler in his community, he had tremendous influence. Often when we do evangelism we think that if the people of influence would only come to Christ what an impact that would make. If a millionaire got saved think of the things he could do for the Lord! I don’t think that there’s any debate regarding the fact that this was a very capable young man, a real catch as far as the world was concerned. As the young man tells Jesus that since he was just a boy he has kept the teachings of God as a high value it says, “Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack, go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come take up the cross and follow Me.’” You know the young man’s reaction, I can only imagine the reaction of the disciples as they saw this great potential slide away. Of all the capabilities of this young man to build wealth and be a ruler and be godly young man, there was one thing he lacked. The first thing that jumps to my mind is that Jesus said he only lacked one thing! How many things are lacking in my life, in your life? So what was the one thing he lacked? Don’t forget that the young man’s original question was, “…what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life.?” It was the same question that Jesus addressed with the infants wasn’t it, how to enter into the kingdom of God, how do we gain eternal life…same thing. Certainly trust and dependence are needed here again but what is the capability that Jesus is seeking to draw this young man towards? Is it the capability to know God when you are face to face with Him. “Why do you call Me good, no one is good but One, that is, God.” How many times have you been face to face with God and not recognized Him? How many times have you proven your worth to God but missed the one thing that you lacked. Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” What is it that wealth does that impairs the understanding of the heart to be able to recognize God when He is speaking right to us? We don’t have to guess, in the parable of the Sower it says that riches choke out the word of God. If the natural desire of man is acquire wealth for the purposes of security and well being and that his heart is drawn to this, then who can ever be saved if where your treasure is there is your heart also? That was the question of the disciples. Jesus answer is simple, “With men it is impossible, but not with God for with God all things are possible.” Why? Because God has a passion for the impossible! God has a passion to turn hearts of stone, even gem stones, into hearts that hunger after Him. He invites us to radically evaluate our value systems, where is treasure really located, what can a cross do that a Cadillac can’t? Learn to recognize what capabilities God really loves.
III. Learn to Recognize How Jesus Measures Worthiness. Peter’s response to the command to sell all and follow Jesus was that this is what they had done. Surely this must mean that they were very worthy of eternal life, that they had a certain entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus response is that it is impossible to out give God. If you gave one house for the sake of Jesus and the gospel, God would give one hundred in return. Most banks only pay 3.5 %, a good return these days is about 8%. Jesus says that God will return a hundred fold, or a hundred times as much. Clearly you can’t out give God. But wait, wasn’t the acquisition of wealth a threat to entering the kingdom of God because it tended to distract our hearts and choke out what God directs us in His word? So God isn’t in the idea of getting us to give so we can receive even more from Him and get rich. That would be setting us up for a fall. What Jesus is saying is that the worthiness of people who sacrifice their lives for God is not lost on God. He will abundantly take care of them. When they have given up homes for Him, or families in certain cases, or the ability to have prestige through wealth or even the ability to conceive and to care for children… when these are laid down at the feet of Jesus in order to say, ‘Jesus, you come first.’, then He will move. Then the first has become last, and the last has become first. Jesus measures worthiness not by what we are grudgingly willing to let go of, He judges worthiness by those who are willing to let go of first place and move to last place, to carry the cross and follow Him. It’s in this last place that Jesus is most clearly seen. Perhaps this was the one thing the rich young ruler lacked, the ability to move from first place to last place and achieve worthiness in Christ alone. People naturally hate persecutions, yet God has a passion for the impossible. He Who has made His own Son last of all that He might have preeminence over all things, invites us to an eternal worthiness in Christ. This is a God Who has a passion for the impossible. That’s me, that’s you!