Q. I have a question about Mark 10:17-31. Not only what Jesus said to the rich man but also everything else He said to his disciples after. It seems like He is saying unless we are sure we are sacrificing everything to follow Him we will not enter the Kingdom. I keep wondering if I’m doing enough to deserve eternal life? What if I’m not giving up enough to be accepted?
A. By telling the rich young man to sell everything and give to the poor, Jesus made the him realize that he loved his wealth more than he loved eternal life. That’s why he went away sad (Mark 10:22). But the key to understanding Mark 10:17-31 lies in verse 27 where Jesus said that it’s impossible for us to save ourselves, but it’s not impossible for God to save us. All things are possible with God.
Then Peter said, “We’ve left everything everything to follow you!” Jesus assured the disciples (and us) that such a sacrifice will not go unrewarded. But He warned us to be careful, because those who start thinking they should be first because of what they’ve done could wind up being last (Mark 10:28-31).
So by two contrasting examples, one who was unwilling to give up his worldly wealth, and another who had given up everything, the Lord made His point. Every attempt to gain entry into the Kingdom based on achievement or merit will be futile no matter how impressive it is in man’s sight. Our wealth can’t buy our place in eternity and our self sacrifice can’t earn it. Only complete reliance on the Grace of God is sufficient.