本周, we move from understanding why “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:17) to focusing on salvation as a free gift from God.
Mark 10:17-22 “17 And as he 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?” 18 And 耶稣 said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, 不要偷窃, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And 耶稣, looking 在他, 爱他, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, 跟我来.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”(ESV).
In this passage, 耶稣 proves that “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:17) by using Scripture to show salvation cannot be earned. 耶稣, speaking to a Jewish ruler, quotes from the 10 Commandments. He knew the Jewish audience would immediately recognize these significant tenets of God’s law. He also knew that this Jewish man would immediately be able to say that he had kept these commandments. This Jewish man has been keeping the commandments to earn his salvation, yet deep within his soul, he knows he must do something else to inherit eternal life. Otherwise, he would not have asked the question.
This Jewish man, asking 耶稣 how he can inherit eternal life, exemplifies a deep desire within us. Deep within each person is a longing for spiritual significance, evidenced by the desire to have a relationship with God. This fact has been recognized throughout history. On September 7, 2023, Elon Musk posted on X (formally known as 推特), “There seems to be an innate need for religion.” Unfortunately, humanity’s response to this deep desire has all too often been to create rules to follow, an effort to earn one’s salvation.
Notice how 耶稣 responds to the Jewish man’s claim that he has kept the commandments since his youth. 耶稣 看起来 在他. 耶稣 saw him for who he was: a man created in the image of God. 耶稣 knew the Jewish man’s deep desire to truly know God. Therefore, 耶稣 responds, striking a blow to the Jewish man’s view of salvation. This Jewish man had believed he could earn his salvation all his life; all he had to do was keep the commandments. He has done all the right things and followed God’s law. Yet, deep within his soul, he still knew something was missing. The text reveals that he had created an idol for himself, his great wealth. 耶稣 replies to the Jewish man, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, 跟我来.” 耶稣’ declaration that salvation cannot be earned proved too great for this Jewish man, who “went away sorrowfully.” This is truly one of the most sorrowful passages found in all of Scripture because the Jewish man was unable to accept God’s free gift of salvation due to the idol of his great wealth. With this passage, 耶稣 is teaching that only God is good because only God can offer salvation as a free gift to everyone willing to accept it without trying to earn it!
As you reflect on this passage, consider: if you could converse with 耶稣 today and ask, "How can I inherit eternal life?" What idol might He gently urge you to dismantle in order to fully embrace His free gift of salvation?