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The message is hidden here that we cannot save ourselves, but only God can save us. In Mark 10:45 Jesus says “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Ransom means the cost you pay to free slaves. It is revealed that Jesus pays the ransom for the Atonement, so that the whole humanity who are salves of the sin will be set free, and to make them belong to God, that is what Jesus did on the Cross. Through this message I want to let you know that Jesus is the one who can save both you and me. Please read Mark 10: 13-31. Three related contents are written here.
First, people brought their children to Jesus for him to lay his hands on them. They did this with the desire to have Jesus bless their children. After the disciples of Jesus rebuked these people, Jesus said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Mark 10:14-15
Those who receive the kingdom of God like a little child, they acknowledge their weaknesses and unreliability. Since they know their weaknesses, they trust in God and accept the ransom of the cross that God wants to give. They recognize their weakness and unreliability, they know that they don’t deserve it, but to chose to trust in God, Jesus says here that these people can enter the kingdom of God. And we can learn that from little children.
Secondly, there is a conversation between Jesus and the rich man. This rich man came to Jesus humbly and fell on his knees before Him and asked “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Verse17) Jesus answered quoting from Ten Commandments that this man knows the commandments well. This rich man declared “Teacher, all these I have kept since I was a boy.” (Verse 20) We can see that he knows the law of the Old Testament well and he has been through a good life. But we can see his prideful attitude hidden under his false humility. Now, Luke described this person as an officer (Luke 18:18), implying that he was an officer of the Jewish Church or a member of parliament at that time (member of Sanhedrin). However, Jesus looked at him and loved him, and said “One thing you lack. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Verse 21)
What a surprising word. It is a very sacrificial challenge to sell off your belongings and give them to the poor. What was the problem of this person then? Even though he knew the Old Testament, he didn’t want to follow Jesus, who the Old Testament testifies. And he couldn’t let go of his wealth and position. This reminds me of Jesus’ word in Luke 16:13, “No one can serve two masters. ….You cannot serve both God and money.”
But don’t get me wrong. Even if you sell all of your property and give it to someone or church, it doesn’t lead you to the path of salvation. Jesus’ challenge here was that the rich man needed to be aware that he was obsessed with his property, which was against The commandments, and that was also preventing him from trusting God.
Thirdly, there is a conversation between Jesus and his disciples who was surprised by his words, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (Verse 23)
The understanding of Jews at that time was wealth was a blessing from God. Jesus speaks the opposite of what they believed. Jesus continues, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”(Verse25) The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”(Verse26)
Eveyone knows that camels do not pass through the needle holes. That is impossible, and then no rich man will be saved. It makes sense for the disciples to think in that way. However, Jesus points out that it is difficult for the rich to be saved because they are less likely to feel the need for salvation like the poor. Certainly, those whose lives are dominated by money and materials do not feel much need for salvation. I think there are many people in Japan who feel the same today. But whatever the circumstances are, today’s scripture, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) Speaks to our hearts. God can save anyone whether rich or poor. God’s love is poured out on everyone. It is only God who can give a salvation. Let’s hold on to this scripture, “All things are possible with God,” and pray for our family and friends.
Last Tuesday, the board meeting of our church denomination was held through Zoom. To prevent the coronavirus infection, we decided to stop gathering and join the board meeting from home. At that time, it was reported that one person contributed a lot of money to support some churches and pastors’ families who are in need, and the money was actually distributed to those churches and families. It is truly grateful that such a generous person is given to our church denomination. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment in law, he replied: “ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)
We want to live our lives being free from anything and love God and love our neighbors.
So What about you guys? Jesus was on the cross, He forgives your sins and gives you eternal life. Let us be grateful and to believe in Jesus as our Savior. God is the one who can change your heart. Let’s stay in the love Jesus gives and choose a life of loving God and our neighbors.