By Luke Johnson | February 2, 2016
Jesus knows who you are. He is interested in the real you. He wants to meet with the “you you”. When he calls to you, you can expect that his call will be specific to your life, to your hopes.
Read Mark 10:17-22
What does the young man want from Jesus? (v. 17)
What do you think of the ‘recipe’ Jesus gives for receiving eternal life? How difficult do you think it would be to follow Jesus’ instructions? (v. 18-19)
- Don’t murder
- Be faithful to your wife or husband
- Don’t steal
- Don’t lie / Don’t trick anyone into giving you money
- Honor your parents
This is pretty doable, right? You’re probably pretty good at keeping all of these.
Why do you think Jesus would ask the young man to give up his money? (Mark gives us a hint in v. 22)
We don’t find out until the very end of the story that this young man is wealthy. But Jesus knew. Jesus knew that for this young man, money was like earplugs that kept him from hearing God clearly, or like heavy bags weighing him down that kept him from following God freely. Jesus looked into this man’s life and identified the exact thing that prevented him from following after Jesus.
Put yourself in this young man’s shoes. What might Jesus ask you to give up? Is there something that you find distracting? Something you find hard to let go?
Read Luke 19:1-10
What does Zacchaeus want? (look at v. 3)
Do you notice any similarities or differences between Zacchaeus and the rich young man in Mark?
- Zacchaeus is also wealthy (v. 2)
- The young man is righteous (follows the commandments), but people call Zacchaeus a ‘sinner’ (v. 7)
How does Zacchaeus respond to Jesus? (v. 8)
How does Zacchaeus’ response differ from the rich young man’s?
(The young man walked away sad when Jesus asked him to give up his wealth.
Zacchaeus announces freely that he’s giving away his wealth.)
Wealth was an obstacle for both men. Why does Jesus tell Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house”?
Both of these men experienced an Epiphany story -- Jesus showed up in their lives. When Jesus shows up, he calls to us, asking us to “come follow me” in some way. Jesus wants us to shape our lives around him, to be defined by him, rather than being defined by lesser, garbagy things like money or degrees or jobs or good exam scores. In Epiphany, we listen closely for what Jesus is saying and doing, because he is always inviting us into a really powerful type of belonging -- to belong to God the same way that Jesus does. God wants to receive us as his Sons and Daughters in exactly the same way that he receives his own Son.
So, keep thinking about where you meet Jesus in your life. The season of Epiphany ends soon, but we turn soon into Lent, a time for acting on the things we’ve heard Jesus saying to us.