Coming from Mark 10, Barry referred to the encounter Jesus had with the rich young man interested in receiving eternal life. He mentioned that the desperation the man had to be in the presence of Jesus was due to his genuine curiosity about the Kingdom of Heaven.
“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,’” scripture reads. “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’”
In this passage, we see that Jesus did not directly answer the question for the man. Rather, He challenged the young man with a question. Barry opined that this may stem from the young man’s perspective of seeing Jesus as a teacher and not God who offers salvation.
“People in our culture, we like Jesus as a teacher because Jesus is intimidating as a teacher,” Barry stated before continuing with a word of caution. “If you come to Jesus as a teacher, all you will ever get is an answer.”
The man was also desperate because there was a part of him that felt like he wasn’t worthy enough to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven. Similar to the rich man, we are sometimes self-conscious because we believe that our flaws don’t make us worthy of heaven.
“We silently fear if people really knew me, they would never accept me,” Barry said when referencing another preacher. “We wonder if God’s paying attention, and other times we hope He’s not looking.”
The pastor also mentioned an aspect of the story that really stood out to him, which was the compassion Jesus showed the man. The passage states, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him.”
“Before you realize you’re wrong and before you get the right answer and say the right thing, it says God loves you right there in the middle of your story,” Barry reflected.
The passage continues with the young man showing great reluctance in obeying Jesus’ command to sell all his possessions.
“You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me,” reads Mark 10. “Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”
There are people who are focused on earthly possession, and this is what Jesus was trying to help this man understand. “You’re never going to receive the eternal if you’re clinging to the temporary,” Barry told his congregation. “You’ve got to let go of that stuff.”
Like the young man, we as believers are sometimes sad because of the faulty paradigm we have about God.
“Eternal life is not something that you can hold or buy or for or earn, but this guy is thinking through his lens of money and wealth,” Barry said. “Salvation is not achievable, it’s receivable…[but] if you’re going to take hold on eternal life, you are going to have to let go of earthly things.”