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Mark 10:21

Mark 10:17. And when he was gone forth into the go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to
way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:
and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
I may inherit eternal life?

Mark 10:22. And he was sad at that saying, and


Mark 10:18. And Jesus said unto him, Why went away grieved: for he had great possessions.
callest thou me good? there is none good but one,
that is, God.
Mark 10:23. And Jesus looked round about, and
saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they
Mark 10:19. Thou knowest the commandments, that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal,
Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour
thy father and mother. Mark 10:24. And the disciples were astonished at
his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith
unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that
Mark 10:20. And he answered and said unto him, trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
Master, all these have I observed from my youth.

Mark 10:25. It is easier for a camel to go through


Mark 10:21. Then Jesus beholding him loved the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter
him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: into the kingdom of God.

Focal verse for this discussion: 10:21:


Mark 10:21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou
lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have
treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

The teaching here is addressed to a Jewish man who has asked what he lacks before God. The man
professes to have followed the commandments, by which it means the law of Moses. This is part of the
covenant between God and his chosen nation; however what Jesus mentions is not directly from the
law of Moses. This disappoints the man, who it is likely had hoped to be told he was righteousness in
the eyes of God.

There is a juxtaposition here between two covenants; the first is the Davidic covenant, which was given
through Abraham and renewed in David – a covenant of inheritance within the world. The second is
the new covenant, which is with all peoples – a covenant of inheritance in the world to come. The
words 'and come, take up the cross, and follow me' are an invitation to join into the new covenant. The
reference to the cross has two meanings; the first is that to follow Christ is to die to the sinful world, the
second is a reference to future events. To take up the cross, before the crucifixion would have been
understood in terms of loyalty even unto death; not unlike a solider who pledges to serve even if it
means being killed.
This mix of the two covenants is the key to the passage; the old covenant prefigures the new. It is a
model on earth of what is to come to pass later. Where the old covenant was concerned with outwards
cleanliness or that which is kosher, the new is concerned in just the same way with inward cleanliness
and purity of heart.

Mat 15:11. Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of
the mouth, this defileth a man.

Before Christ, the Proverbs already point out the fallacy of riches – that having riches on earth does not
make one rich.

Prov 13:7. There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: There is that maketh himself
poor, yet hath great wealth.

Later, Paul echoes this proverb in his letter to the church at Corinth. He is to be understood as saying
that they are to bring the great gift of God to enrich others, though in terms of money they are poor:

2 Cor 6:10. as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having
nothing, and yet possessing all things.

It is this which we learn from the passage in Mark: that God requires us to forsake earthly wealth and
instead give it to the poor, that they might not be poor. The way that we treat others who are in need is
the way that we treat God Himself. If we do not show love to those who are poor and needy, we do not
show love to God.

As written in Matthew 25 34-40, Jesus explains this very powerfully:

Mat 25:34. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my
Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

Mat 25:35. for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I
was a stranger, and ye took me in;

Mat 25:36. naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye
came unto me.

Mat 25:37. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry,
and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink?

Mat 25:38. And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

Mat 25:39. And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

Mat 25:40. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch
as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me.
So; if a man has much money, land or property and beyond his needs, that is a sin, because his
neighbour (by whom we mean any fellow man) who is poor and in need of support has not been given
help. It is not right even to save up riches for our own future needs, for God knows our requirements
and if we trust him, he will give us what is right in his sight.

Mat 6:31. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?
or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

Mat 6:32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father
knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Mat 6:33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things
shall be added unto you.

Mat 6:34. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for
the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.