Mark 10:17-43

Title: Markers of the Followers

Text: Mark 10.17-43

Introduction: This week I’ve tried to be more conscientious about sharing my faith – at least opening the door to share my faith. You might think it would be easier for a pastor, a minister to do. But honestly, I think it is harder. I was a much better evangelist when I was a regular Joe. Once I became a minister, people would just shut me down.

With that being said, it didn’t slow Jesus down!

Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13.5: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.

Mark is doing that for us here – he’s outlining for us certain markers to identify – to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith. I think a lot of people assume they’re in the faith. Let’s look to see what markers he shares with us about Christ. Mark 10 is where we are, beginning in v 17; 17 And as he was setting out on his journey

It appears Jesus is just now turning toward Jerusalem. And, in fact, if you consider how he’s traveled around northern Israel as of late in these figure 8 outlines, you’d probably agree. I don’t, but I can see what some scholars do. I think he’s just packing up from where he is and headed toward where he’s been heading all along – to Jerusalem. Rd 17; a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

This is a good sign that someone is open to the Gospel. In Acts 2, they ask Peter a similar question as they are cut to the heart: Brothers, what must we do? As in, in light of what you’ve just told us, what must we do?

ill.: I’m teaching an evangelism class on Sunday nights. One of the lessons is on discernment. It is noted in this study, that just such a question is a clue that someone is open to the Gospel. However, just because someone is open, doesn’t mean they’re ready. We’ll see that in this passage, because v 22 tells us he departed dishearten.

But for now, as an evangelist – and that is what you are. Say it with me: I am an evangelist! Oh, some of you were already asleep. Say that with me: I am an evangelist!

I heard a preacher recently say: The lowest requirement of any disciple is to share his/her faith with others.

I don’t know if it is true or not, I’ve not seen some scale that marks that as the lowest. I think loving each other would rank up there with the minimum amount required. However, I think that preacher was on to something. Jesus commissioned us all to share the gospel. You don’t hire someone to do that for you. You can call a youth pastor or a worship pastor, and the list goes on. You can hire someone to mow your yard and clean the facilities. But you cannot hire someone to witness for you.

That makes you an evangelist.

So, mister and misses evangelist, what are these markers Mark is listing for us?

Markers:

  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ. There is no one or no thing that rises above him. Period.
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go. This is piety. Comparing yourself to someone else may make you feel like you’ve arrived, but comparing yourself to Christ leaves you way short of the intended goal.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
  4. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God: I am a slave.

Transition: we’ll look for these markers as we make our way through. They appear in this storyline of position and pride. Right? That is what all of these stories deal with: position and pride.

1st, we have a young man who thinks he’ll get into heaven because he has kept the law since he was young (20).

2nd, Peter thinks he has attained some level of recognition because, as he puts it: we have left everything and followed you (20). I suppose, he makes this statement in comparison to this rich, young man.

3rd, James and John begin bucking for position in the new Kingdom. Namely, these two wish to sit at Christ’s right and left – the two highest positions of recognition to Christ. It makes sense. I mean, other than Peter, who would you think belonged there? These three have been the closest to Jesus throughout this journey. And in case you don’t know it, it’s about to end. The triumphal entry is in Chapter 11.1.

Jesus and the disciples are coming near to the end. After the Triumphal entry, there is one week left. And, for Jesus, three of those days will be spent in the tomb!

So let’s look at these stories.

I.     A young man who thinks he’s kept the law.

exp.: rd v 18; I think the point Jesus is making here is for this man not to think more highly of himself than he ought. You can see this in the next couple of verses: rd v 19-21; this 1st part covers the last 6 commandments. He ends with the 1st command in the 2nd level – honor your father and mother; and, he changes do not covet with do not defraud. My guess is that because this guy is rich, he doesn’t necessarily covet what his neighbors have; all of these commandments are concrete except coveting. And defrauding someone is the concrete form Jesus uses with this man. Many of the rich got that way by defrauding others. That’s the 1st part of the commandments.

The 2nd part covers the 1st 4! i.e.: go, sell all you have, give it to the poor and follow me. And that is the problem this young man has. He thinks being good will get him into heaven.

ill.: If you’re sitting here this morning and you think you’re good enough to get into heaven – you’d better think again. You can obey the last 6 commandments perfectly and still wind up in hell. Do you hear me? Being good doesn’t get you into heaven!

app.: Jesus basically says here – you’ve obeyed the last 6 commandments pretty well. But, unless I’m 1st in your life, you’ll never have eternal life.

t.s.: Just like the young man here, you’ll depart disheartened. Storyline #2:

II.    A zealous disciple who thinks he’s sacrificed everything to follow Christ.

exp.: In our story, the young man departs with his head down. His money, his idols, his possession mean more to him than eternal life. The disciples are blown away when they watch this young man walk away. Rd v 23-27; Peter must be inspired with this speech of Jesus. Rd v 28; I think you just missed something. Go back. Do you see it? Man, this is great staging, great drama: Peter began…to say. The NIV misses this. Peter began to brag and Jesus speaks up over him: rd v 29ff; highlight with persecutions;

ill.: Then, Jesus illustrates this with a third reminder: the coming passion.

app.: 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” “Look at me, I’m the example,” Jesus says.

t.s.: Now, We’ve seen the 1st marker missed by the young man: Markers:

  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ. And, we’ve seen that Peter is lacking humility and piety, which is marker #2.
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go. We’ve seen marker #3 in Christ, who will demonstrate perfect humility and piety in the gospel.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

Transition: You’d think at this moment the disciples would be on it. Remember, this isn’t the 1st time he’s said this. We’re in the midst of the 3rd cycle where Jesus has told them plainly that he will go to Jerusalem and die. You would think that they’ve got this by now. But this leads us to the two brothers vying for position and power.

III.  Two zealous brothers who think they’re able to drink the cup of Christ and experience his baptism.

exp.: rd v 35-37; rd v 38a; That should be a real attention grabber for them. You do not know what you are asking. Rd 38b; and boldly they say, yes: rd v 39a; they don’t know that his cup is suffering and persecution; they don’t know that his baptism is by fire!

ill.: Do you ever figure when you’re praying that you have no idea what you’re asking? Do you ever wonder if when you ask God to do this or to do that – you have no idea what you are asking for?

This should get our attention. Jesus identifies this last marker for us:

  1. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God: I am a slave.

app.: your purpose is His glory! That might be through death. That’s exactly what happens here. James will be the 1st one of these disciples to die.

t.s.: Here’s the catch – here is what Mark is driving home story by story…

  1. Jesus lays out the Law for the young ruler: All these I have kept from my youth; Jesus basically says: no, you haven’t
  2. Peter says: We left everything – we’ve sacrificed everything to follow you. Jesus says: no, you haven’t
  3. The brothers ask: Let us sit on your right and on your left; Are you able to drink and be baptized … They say, “we are.” And Jesus says: No, No, No… you don’t even know what you’re asking for…

Conclusion: So, we have these Markers…markers that help us examine ourselves, to test ourselves to see if we are indeed in the faith.

So now, let us examine ourselves. Look for these markings in your life: Do you have…

  1. A life that is totally devoted to Christ? Or, could Jesus peg you and cause you to drop your head, turn away and leave disheartened?
  2. A heart that recognizes: you still have a long way to go? This is piety. Comparing yourself to someone else may make you feel like you’ve arrived, but comparing yourself to Christ leaves you way short of the intended goal.
  3. A mind that has a clear understanding of the Gospel: the suffering death, burial and resurrection of Christ?
  4. A purpose that identifies your place in the economy of God? That you are a slave.

 

Prayer; Invitation; Lord’s Supper

 

 

 

 

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