Friday, October 9th Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” Mark 10:28-31

Peter and the other disciples were standing right there when the rich man approached Jesus. They heard his question, heard Jesus’ response. They all grew slightly uncomfortable as the rich man turned away, ashen-faced. Then Jesus turned to them.

Now Jesus turns to us.

Peter unwittingly demonstrates his own version of “justification by what we have done” – he doesn’t appeal to his lifelong obedience to the commandments as the rich man had done but instead “reminds” Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.”

That isn’t going to cut it either.

Here are the two realities and the one question that remain after watching this encounter all week. First, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace. Regardless of what we have done or left undone, nothing can separate us from God’s love. Second, God isn’t interested merely in the “sweet by and by” of heaven. God is interested in life that begins now, on earth, in real time.

Eternal life isn’t an alternative existence measured quantitatively by infinite years after we die; eternal life is a qualitative difference in how we live our lives in community now, that is brought to completion in the life to come. Living this life in the here and now will be difficult because it means letting go and “seeing” life in radically different ways.

And then the question – Now that you don’t have to do anything, what are you going to do?

Yes, Peter and the others left everything and followed Jesus. They left everything and they gained far more than they could have imagined.

You and I are modern day disciples. We don’t have the luxury of waking up in the morning next to Jesus so that we can watch him in real life action as he dealt with all sorts of people. But we have the stories and we have the faith that the Holy Spirit has planted in our hearts.

Our journey is to live as followers of Jesus in a pluralistic, materialistic, violent, divided and constantly changing world that has very mixed feelings about religion in general and Christianity in particular. Our challenge is to the carry the Good News into the world in our words, our actions, our attitudes, our behaviors, in such a way as to make the world a better place to live. This is a costly challenge. It will cost us time, money, personal involvement, passion and courage.

But, unlike the rich man who walked away alone, we – like Peter and the others – live our lives in the company of others on the same trip. We aren’t alone. The journey is well worth the cost.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, your disciples heard you talk and saw you in action. We, who live and walk by faith, whom you have claimed to join you on the road, are not much different than they were. We ask questions. We get confused and troubled. Yet we pray that you use us as you used them, to your glory and the welfare of your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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