We had another good session this week in room 210 in the Pharmacy building down at University and College. We were looking this week at the encounter of Jesus with the rich young man. Here was someone who thought that he could buy his way into heaven either by his wealth or his own good works. The problem is, he did not see himself as a sinner, as one who had any need of a Saviour. Even though he was desperately lost, he couldn’t identify it. Many in our society are like this. They take comfort in their own religiosity. They “do” church or something else (random acts of kindness?) feeling that because they are good “enough” then they will be saved if there is a god at all. But God has spoken through His Bible and said that the best of our “good deeds” that we do are like filthy rags in God’s sight (Isaiah 64:6) . We can never do enough to erase the stain of our sinfulness. God is holy and we are not. The rich young ruler thought that if he just did all that the law says that he would be fine. But Jesus showed him that he could not perfectly keep the law. No one can – every human being falls short somewhere. For the rich young man, it was covetousness that was his downfall (Mark 10:22). For the woman at the well it was sex (John 4:16-18). Throughout Jesus ministry, He consistently pointed to our sin which leads us to eternal damnation in hell.
So where does this leave us? Without God, we’re without hope. But the the Gospel (which means “good news”) of Mark is announced at the very beginning of the book Mark 1:1: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus is the good news. Jesus came to live out a perfect sinless life so that we might through His sacrifice have a relationship with God. In His death on the cross, He provides salvation by grace to all who would believe in Him. Salvation is achieved through Jesus Christ alone.
This means if we believe in Jesus and entrust Him with our whole life and existence we receive the gift of His obedience in the place of our sin. It’s the great exchange: our sin for His righteousness! All of this is an amazing gift from God, not by our own works, so that we cannot boast in ourselves (Eph. 2:8-10). So, we cannot earn salvation from our sinfulness by doing good things like the rich young man: being good to others or even through religious rituals like baptism or attending church services. Salvation comes from God. He alone grants it. We all need it because the Bible says we are sinners at our core.
If you have questions about this or you would like to learn more come on out to one of our final sessions. We’re here to help point you to Jesus Christ.
This is what the whole Bible is trying to do. It is a series of promises made about Jesus that were kept by His birth, death and resurrection. For our final big picture segment on “promises made, promises kept” we looked at over 20 Old Testament prophecies that were focused on the last day of Jesus life. You can take a look at them here: Promises Made Promises Part 3 – The Trial and Death of Jesus or click the thumbnail to the left.
The homework for next week is:
READ Mark 14:1-16:8
- Mark tells us about Jesus’ last hours. How do we know that Jesus’ death was not a mistake or accident? (Mark 14:12-26, 27-31, 48-49, 61-62).
- When Jesus died, the temple curtain was torn (Mark 15:38). Why do you think that Mark records what happened to the curtain?
- What was the reaction of the Roman centurion in Mark 15:39 and why is it significant?
- Grace is when God treats us the opposite of what we deserve – it is an undeserved gift (Ephesians 2:8-9). Petere disowned Jesus 3 times (Mark 14:66-72) – how do you think he felt when he would meet Jesus in Mark 16:7? Why?
- How do you respond to the gift of grace that Jesus offers?
See you next week!