When Jesus Loves You

Text: Mark 10: 17-31

Proposition: It is hard to understand that there is nothing we can do that qualifies us to deserve everlasting life, it is impossible. Yet with God all things are possible.

Introduction: I remember a time when our daughters were very young. We were in a group of people and our oldest who was almost three, came and hugged the leg of the man standing next to me. But then she looked up and saw that the it was a case of mistaken legs. I’m not sure who was more surprised, the man or Kate. Maybe that’s happened to you and when it did you tried to show them you were a good person but not the one who they thought you were. This morning the story we are going to look at is about mistaken identity. Turn to Mark 10:17-31 as we see Jesus response to this very common encounter with Him.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

I. A Case of Double Mistaken Identity. There’s a popular worship song sung today called ‘Good, Good Father’ and it begins by describing the Father’s goodness in terms of what God does. At the height of the song it’s refrain is, ‘You are perfect in all of ways, perfect in all of your ways…”. What the song says is true but it’s the last part that says it most clearly, ‘It’s Who you are, it’s Who you are’. This song is a little like what happened in Mark 10:17. The young man who came running up to Jesus that day calling Jesus ‘Good teacher’ had a burning question in his heart. Yet Jesus doesn’t even begin to answer the young man’s question about eternal life because at this point there is a case of mistaken identity. Look at verse 18, “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”” In other words the term ‘good’ refers not to deeds or actions but to ‘sinlessness’. Jesus is God, Jesus is sinless, but the young man didn’t see that, he didn’t know whom it was he was talking to. So clearly, it’s a case of mistaken identity. Yet Jesus doesn’t chastise him for that or reject him. Instead He returns to the original question the young man had asked in verse 17, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Not only did the young man not understand Who Jesus is but to a great degree the young man did not even know his own identity. The question he had asked was a common one for those who are taught by the Pharisees. It is a question of doing all the right things and as a result earns everlasting life. The catch is in the phrase, ‘what must I do to inherit’. The Pharisees taught a works based righteousness, do good deeds and you will be considered righteous by God. That works based righteousness was this young man’s mistaken identity. He did not see himself as a sinner in need of a Savior. He saw himself as righteous because he deserved to be. David Guzik put it like this, “When you don’t know who Jesus really is, you probably don’t know who you are either. And knowing Jesus comes first.” Why did the young man coming running up to Jesus, why did he drop to his knees in front of Jesus? It’s because there was a sense of desperation in his heart.  He knew something was missing, there was a lie going on in his soul. The only way that he knew of to gain righteousness was trying harder but it wasn’t working. When Jesus directs him to the ten commandments it was an attempt to help the young man see the depths of sin yet the young man’s response was not hearing it. Verse 20 is his reply, “…Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” The whole point of the ten commandments was that they were there not to take away sin but to expose it. They were there to show the deep need of sinful man for a sacrifice and then ultimately for a Savior. So Jesus pushes a little deeper, showing him the grip of sin, the way it invites you to trust in something or someone else instead of God. In this case wealth had turned into a place of absolute trust. So to answer the young man’s first question about how to inherit eternal life, it begins with seeing your sin and then seeing your need, your absolute need of a Savior.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

II. When Jesus Loves You He Leads You To Your Cross. Have a look at verse 21, “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.” The thing about the cross is that it’s not a correctional institute, it’s not a reform school, it’s not reeducation. It’s death row. The only purpose of a cross is to kill, to put to death. In the incredible plan of God He chose this instrument of death to be the cradle where new life, born again life, would begin. When Jesus died on the cross it was the intentional plan of God to sacrifice the life of the sinless Son of God for the lives of all sinful mankind. THE One dies, many are set free. The plan of God is to shatter the illusion of self-righteousness in man by exposing it for what it is. When Jesus shatters the illusion of your own self- made righteousness, that act of Jesus is an expression of His great, great love for you. But make no mistake, when Jesus loves you and does this it can be really painful. Look at verse 22, “But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”. The cross for Christ was a great agony and sorrow of the forsaken, He took our sin upon Himself and the cost of sin was what we have always known it be, an isolating forsakenness. When Jesus loves you He doesn’t leave you without direction, just like the direction He gave to that young man that day. But, you might be thinking, isn’t what Jesus said no different than what the Pharisees taught. Was ‘Sell all you have and give it to the poor’, a works based righteousness that promised treasure in heaven? The difference here is that this work required obedience to what Jesus commanded and a faith that trusted in Him for the outcome. In this place faith reveals the Savior and the need for Him. When Jesus loves you He points you to a gate that is so narrow it’s like the eye of a needle. Look at verse 23, “Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples are astonished at this statement so Jesus repeats it, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The Jesus adds this, “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.” The disciples are so taken aback by this that they blurt out, “Who then can be saved?” The thought was simply, ‘Doesn’t everyone desire to be wealthy? Does having money mean I’m separated from God? Who then can be saved? Is wealth the problem, is it always wrong to be have wealth? The problem is in who owns who. Do you own money or does it own you? Do you own Jesus or does Jesus own you? If you are a steward, a servant of Christ then all you hold is His.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      When Jesus loves you the impossible is turned on its head. With God all things are possible said Jesus. The explanation for that is first seen in the way we are saved. It would have been impossible for us to see the truth of Who He is and the truth of who we are had He not first given us the grace to be saved by faith. That’s salvation and then comes sanctification, the call to leave behind my rights of ownership to follow Him. It is the call to be a servant and in Jesus words it takes the impossible and makes it possible. Look at verses 29,30, “So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” Sanctification has a great cost but a hundred times return rate that is meant to amplify His glory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When Jesus loves you He calls you  to live for His sake, for the gospels sake, in this age and in the age to come.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When Jesus loves you it’s eternal life that He longs you to have.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  When Jesus loves you He leads you first to His cross and then to yours.

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