Notes on Mark’s Gospel (93)

“On Your Mark”

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

The Business of Grace (Chapter 10 Verses 17-31)

Left alone with his disciples (vv23-31), Jesus teaches them once more, with regards to the way of salvation, entrance to the Kingdom of God. The repetition of what Jesus says about the rich (v24), fills his disciples with amazement. So he illustrates (v25). It is totally impossible for any rich person who trusts in their riches to trust Jesus at the same time. But Jesus goes on to explain how the impossible can become possible (v26-27). The teaching is meant to destroy all self-hope, for even the disciples themselves, in fact all people have a secret longing for riches, and the more self-hope dies, the more our hope in God rises to what it ought to be. Now with men? Impossible! But not with God. Impossible though it be for people to eradicate their own trust in wealth, God is able to do it, he is able to save completely (Hebrews 7.25).

The pendulum swings to the other extreme (v29). Peter on behalf of the others reminds Jesus that they have surrendered everything to follow him, just what Jesus had demanded of the rich young man. So what is in it for us? Note the we have (v28), what we have done. And they also caught the offer of treasure made to the young man (v21), hence, what is in it for us? Do you see the complete misunderstanding on their part (not just Peter), the treasure offered the young man was one of pure grace, not earned? You can give away all your money, and even your body to be burned (1Corinthians 13.3), and it will not earn you a penny piece in heaven. Not without love, God’s love that is (Romans 5.5), supernaturally poured into your heart in reception to God’s gift, gracious, free offer of salvation in Jesus (Romans 6.23). Peter is thinking about a profitable business transaction. The principle of works-righteousness dies hard in Christians even. You know, the claims and merits pop up like indestructible weeds, the more you do, the more you earn, and the more God owes you. So Jesus puts them right. The generosity of God could never be out-done by us, in his big-heartedness even your modern computers could not measure his magnanimity (Matthew 25.21, 23; Luke 19.17, 19). Boundless grace, none of which is deserved. But Jesus finishes with a shot across their bows (v31). There are many who profess to be in the Kingdom (Judas), but who finally will not be (Matthew 26.14-15), it is a question of where your confidence is (Hebrews 10.35- 39), and where it remains.

(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1996)

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