Sermon on Mark 10:17-31  -  What Must I DO to Receive Life?


I heard about an expert in diamonds who happened to be seated on an airplane beside a woman with a huge diamond on her finger. Finally, the man introduced himself and said, "I couldn't help but notice your beautiful diamond. I am an expert in precious stones. Please tell me about that stone." She replied, "That is the famous Klopman diamond, one of the largest in the world. But there is a strange curse that comes with it." Now the man was really interested. He asked, "What is the curse?" As he waited with bated breath, she replied, "It's Mr. Klopman."


Some of you may wish to re-evaluate your diamonds on that basis. But seriously the true curse of any kind of valuable possession is its capacity to steal our hearts and souls. The rich young ruler is one of those unique characters from the Bible that have come to represent greed. So unwilling was he to part with earthly wealth that he sold his soul in order to keep his money. He wanted to be saved but not at the expense of losing his possessions. The first thing that impresses me when I read this story is that the rich young ruler was so near to the Kingdom. He asked all the right questions. He understood the Law and he understood Jesusí teaching.  But in the end love of money kept him out. We see him as a moral coward.


But that conclusion is too simple. The fact is there are a lot of good things that can be said of him. I'm impressed with the fact, for example, that having talked with him only a few minutes, Mark tells us that Jesus looked upon him and loved him. That doesn't sound like a scathing criticism to me. And, I think that we also need to remember that to this young boy Jesus was not the Son of God. He was simply a new prophet, with an exciting message, a magnetic personality, and eyes that gripped you when you spoke to him. He was certainly not the Christ of the Apostles' Creed. At this point in his ministry, not even the disciples looked upon Jesus in that regard. The stone of Easter had not yet been rolled away.


And so for a few moments this morning I would like to champion the cause of this underdog and reassess his character. And then I want to look at his fatal flaws. First letís look at the positive. These are things that brought him to the master, qualities that made him interested in Jesusí teachings.


1. The first positive thing is: he was courageous.

2. The second positive thing is: he was humble.

3. The third positive thing is: he was religious.


Now letís look at the negative. These are things that made him turn away form the master.


1. The first negative thing is: he was looking for a rule to keep.

2. The second negative thing is: he loved his money.

3. The third negative thing is: he walked away.

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