Sunday, October 11, 2009

“What Did You Say?” (Mark 10:17).

S-1142 10/11/09 19SAP/3B Hymns: (O) #349 v. 1-4; (S) #594 LSB; LS. #377; #336; #35; (C) #349 v. 5-7

Texts: Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19; Mark 10:17-22

Theme: What Did You Say?” (Mark 10:17).

Question: “What Are You Lacking?” SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation this morning is the Gospel lesson: “And as He [Jesus] was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Mark 10:17).


Saints in Christ, we have all had those moments. You are having a conversation or listening to an interview and something that is said strikes you as odd and unbelievable. What is said is so unexpected, so out of the box, so out of the ordinary that you want to make sure that you heard the conversation correctly. “What did you say?”

We saw that not too long ago when we were watching the International Olympic Committee take the vote to see who would host the 2016 Summer Olympics. All of the hype and run up to the event pointed to Chicago being the winner. After all, they had put on the full court press. The President and First Lady, along with the Chicago goddess Oprah, personally made the rounds of the voting delegations. There was going to be some competition from Rio de Jenero, but it wasn’t an insurmountable task. The hopes of a city and nation were set on high results; because the President was going to save the day and bring home the bacon.

Then it happened. The first round of voting took place. The IOC spokesman broke the news. Chicago had been eliminated on the first ballot? As the cameras zoomed on the people waiting in the streets of Chicago, their faces were awestruck in disbelief. You could hear the shock in the voices of the reporters. The tone was disbelief. “What did he say?”

The answer to the hopes of a nation and a city was totally unexpected. The reputation of the American delegation would have never permitted us to think this result would be possible. But there, amid all anticipation, the result created disbelief.

Then on Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Barrack Hussein Obama. And many were saying, “What did you say?” Unbelief! Bewilderment! Puzzlement was evident by many.

Today we have a similar setting in our Gospel reading. Jesus is approached by a young man that seemed to have his presentation and life all in order. He was young and held a position of authority and respect. He was confident in his position, finances and work-righteous. And while this man seems to have it all together, he is driven to seek out Jesus. Perhaps this was to cement his conviction of his own status. But it could also have been that there was a seed of doubt in the man. But for whatever reason, self-righteousness or self-doubt, he brings his request to Jesus.

Mark paints the picture of this man beautifully as he comes running to Jesus, kneels before Him and says: Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” What did he say? He called Jesus, “Good teacher!” And now that is a something that we can’t go over lightly. We need to look deeper to those words and understand their meaning of what this rich man was saying.

In calling Jesus “GOOD” He was acknowledging that Jesus is God. For only God is good. Even though he spoke that word, he missed the point that God was standing right before Him. For this reason, Jesus says, There is no one good except God.” So Jesus responds by asking the rich man, “What did you say?” Are you saying that I am God? Are you acknowledging Me to be the Creator of the Universe? Are you looking at Me dressed in human form, walking among you to be God in the flesh?

With these words, Jesus begins to solve the spiritual problem of the man that is kneeling before Him. Jesus slowly begins to take the dark lenses that are covering the eyes of this rich man and allows him to see that before Him stands the Almighty God. But He didn’t get it. Many people today don’t get it either.

Many people claim that Jesus is a good teacher, an excellent moral example; a wonderful man imparting moral ethics and teaching us to be good. Even Bill O’Reilly said on his Friday’s broadcast that he is not sure if Jesus is God as he visited with an atheist. But Jesus is more than that. We dare not look at Him only as a human example, or a good teacher teaching us how to be good like Him. By the Spirit’s power we look at Him as God who is good. PAUSE.

Two words that are used in our text “God” and “Good”, sound alike and even look alike. They both come from the Old English word “god.” Many people believe in God and respect Him as the Giver of all good gifts. And it is no wonder that the English word for good and beneficial is given to the One who provides us with all good things.

Those two words “God” and “Good” bear similar relation in the German language too. Martin Luther noticed that and remarked upon it. He once wrote: “We Germans from times of old also call God by the very name ‘God,’ derived from the word good, because He is an eternal foundation which gushes forth nothing but the good and from which flows all that is good.”

Today, Jesus looks at the rich man and loves him. He opens the eyes of the rich man to the simple truth that He is God. He is pointing Him to that which is important, not in the doing but in the receiving. Not in keeping the laws or decrees but in getting what is not ours; such as our inheritance.

Now you folks know that you don’t work for an inheritance that is given to you by someone who knows you. It could be your grandparents, parents or relatives. They give it to you because you are part of the family, not because you have been so good; but only out of the abundance of their hearts.

The rich man in our text couldn’t believe Jesus’ Words when He said: “You lack one thing.” And thus the rich man says, “What did you say? You want me to sell everything I have and follow You?” We know the rest of the story. The rich man’s departure from Jesus who is good, indicates that he didn’t believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. PAUSE.

Beloved in the Lord, are we willing to hear what the Savior says to us today? Are we saying to Jesus “What did You say?” Do you want me to leave everything and follow You?” And the answer is absolutely, positively yes. We who are baptized and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, know that self-righteous and self-confidence gets us nothing but what we work for—that is death, hell and damnation. Self-righteous doesn’t give us hope or heaven, but hopelessness and hell.

Jesus on the other hand, in love, opens the door to eternal life and gives us a greater inheritance than any family member can give. For this good teacher, this One who is God Himself, has prepared for all those who are adopted into the family of grace an inheritance that is beyond anything we could ever earn! This inheritance is something that Jesus would earn for us at the cross of Calvary. There, our big brother Jesus paid the ransom price for our freedom. And it is this that we inherit from Him. And we inherit it when He dies. His death brings freedom from sin and death. And this freedom is ours. It is given freely to us. He gives it to us by virtue of our adoption in Holy Baptism a place in the family. And when you are in the family, you inherit what belongs to the family. You have a name and a place and an inheritance! That inheritance is eternal life! PAUSE.

Did you hear what Jesus said? Your sins are forgiven you. You have an eternal inheritance! You didn’t earn it. It is given to you freely. You are freed from the foolishness of thinking that you “aren’t that bad.” You are freed from the slavery of doubt. You are free to look forward to what our Good and Gracious God has in store for you. For now, and forever!

Did you hear that! For those who believe and trust in Jesus lack nothing. Eternal life is yours. It isn’t about you. It is all about Jesus! In our sinfulness that answer is unexpected and undeserved! But that is exactly what He says! AMEN!

Now the peace of God…

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