Today is the fourth Tuesday in Lent and we are continuing in Mark chapter 10. A man comes to speak with Jesus: he wants to know how he can inherit a place in God's kingdom. Jesus's answer makes him sad, and he turns away. Even the disciples are perplexed.
Can I picture the man running up to Jesus, and falling on his knees? He wants so badly to know how to enter into God's kingdom. I wonder what he expected Jesus to say? I wonder what he hoped to hear?
When Jesus first answers him, he mentions the last 6 of the 10 commandments. The man knows that he has followed these all of his life. I wonder why following these good rules was not enough to enter into God's kingdom?
Jesus looks at him and loves him. Can I imagine Jesus's face as he gazes down at the man? Can I hear the love in his voice as he gives his answer?
The first four commandments are: Put God first. Do not build idols or bow down to them. Do not misuse God's name. And keep the Sabbath day holy. I wonder how all of the man's riches were stopping him from keeping these commandments?
How does this man look to me as he hears Jesus's words? What do I see, as his face falls and he turns and walks away?
I wonder what I would do if Jesus spoke these words to me. Can I walk with Jesus about that right now?
I wonder why being rich makes it so hard to enter into God's kingdom, God's good rule, over the world?
The disciples are amazed and surprised. Sometimes, we think that people who are rich or successful must be blessed especially by God. I wonder what they were expecting as a reward for following Jesus?
These are hard words, especially for those of us who have more than we need. They may feel impossible. Can I hear Jesus's words to me right now: "With people, this is impossible. But not with God. All things are possible with God."
Are there any words, or pictures, or moments in this story I want to talk with God about right now, or carry with me into the rest of my day?
Jesus of Nazareth, son of God: thank you that we have a book filled with your words and deeds. Give us the wisdom and understanding that comes from your Holy Spirit, so that we can know you better and follow you all the days of our lives. In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.