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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood

 

Is Being Good Enough?

“You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” ?(Mark 10:19-21, NIV)

The rich young ruler asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus begins the dialog by quoting the second part of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments flesh out our two main responsibilities: The first four tell us how we are to love God, the last six relate to how we are to treat one another. Jesus quotes the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Commandments in order and puts the Fifth Commandment — to honor parents — last.

Why does Jesus omit any reference to the first four commandments? Is it because He knows the young man has kept the last six, and that now Jesus is going to give him an opportunity to follow Him and thereby keep the first four?

Very few people could answer as this young man that they have kept the last six commandments. If ever a case could be made that goodness entitles a person to eternal life, then this man qualifies. He is the quintessential moral man. He has kept the second part of the Decalogue. He has honored his parents and not defrauded anyone through violence, infidelity, perjury, dishonesty or theft.

Can a good person, by nature of his or her goodness, have eternal life?

The answer of Jesus is stunning.

First, Jesus looks at the man. With this young man, there is much to be seen that is favorable. That’s not always the case with us. But Jesus looks at us anyway. He doesn’t turn His eyes away from us. He not only sees the outside of us, His look goes into our hearts. He sees everything.

Second, Jesus loves the man. There is no person whom Jesus puts in an undecided category. He doesn’t need time to make up His mind as to whether or not He loves you. Before He asks anyone to follow Him, He assures us of His love.

Third, Jesus calls the man. He tells the young man and us what we need to do if we are to follow Him. He lays His finger on what may be holding us back.

For this young man, what held him back was his way of life. He lived negatively. He could say that he did not do this or that, but he had no “did.” He was not hurting others, but he wasn’t helping them either. So, Jesus calls him out of passive existence into active service: “Liquidate all your assets and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, then come and follow Me.”

Jesus was asking this rich young ruler to do what He himself was doing — that though He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Jesus was on His way to die in Jerusalem. He had divested himself of His eternal glory. He asks this man to divest himself of his earthly gain. Jesus will always put His finger on what we need to surrender if we are to follow Him.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, today You look at me, love me and call me. May I surrender everything in my life that would keep me from responding to You.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years


2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark


Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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