The Gospel of Mark #25 - One Thing You Lack

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The Gospel of Mark #25 –

“One Thing You Lack”

Text: Mark 10.17-22

Thesis: To note what God truly desires from us so that we will give Him our all.


(1)    Think about people you know who have so much potential, but …

(2)    Let us note 3 points pertaining to the rich young ruler:


I.                   The Question (v. 17):

A.    “The eager approach of [the young man] while Jesus was setting out on his way, his kneeling posture, the formal address together with the weighty character of his question – all suggest deep respect for Jesus and genuine earnestness on the part of the man himself” (Lane 364).

B.     The phrase ‘Good Teacher’ “should be regarded as a sincere tribute to the impression he had made upon the man” (Lane 365).

C.     “The language (aorist tense) indicates that he expected Jesus to prescribe some great deed he could do which would settle things with God once and for all” (Hughes 2:61).

D.    However, the young man did several things right:

1.      He went to the right source.

2.      He recognized the urgency of salvation.

3.      He recognized that he that lacked something.

4.      He recognized that he had a “role to play.”

II.                The Answer (vv. 18-21):

A.    First, Jesus reminds him of the commandments.

1.      This would have been the typical Jewish answer of the day (Note: Some of the Rabbis believed that people could keep the law perfectly).

2.      However, it is interesting that Jesus mentions only 6 of the 10 commandments.

a.       These 6 deal with man’s relationship with others.

b.      Jesus does not mention the first four commandments, which deal with man’s relationship with God.

3.      The rich young ruler responded by stating that he had kept all of those commandments from his childhood. Apparently, there was truth in this statement because Jesus doesn’t rebuke him.

4.      “There must have been something rare and admirable in the man, for of no one else in the Gospel does Mark say that Jesus ‘loved him’” (Edwards 312).

B.     Second, Jesus then goes right to the heart of the matter.

1.      The rich young ruler “measured obedience by external actions and not by inward attitudes” (Wiersbe 1:145).

2.      Therefore, Jesus points out that he lacked “one thing.”

a.       “This statement implies that knowing the commandments and faithfully keeping them do not secure eternal life” (Garland 396).

b.      What is the “one thing?”

(1)   “The one thing he lacks is the self-sacrificing devotion which characterizes every true follower of Jesus” (Lane 367).

(2)   “The ‘one thing’ this man lacked was not understanding the requirements of the law but radical trust in God” (Brooks 163).

(3)   In other words, Jesus asks the young man for his heart.

III.             The Response (v. 22):

A.    He went away sorrowful because he wasn’t willing to sacrifice himself.

1.      “His tragic decision to turn away reflects a greater love for his possessions than for life” (Lane 368).

2.      “The man’s great wealth prevented the helpless, childlike dependence which Jesus had just said was necessary for kingdom entrance” (Hughes 2:63).

3.      “Of all the people who ever came to the feet of Jesus, this man is the only one who went away worse than he came” (Wiersbe 1:145).

B.     How will you respond to the Lord?


(1)    Illustration – The key in the master’s hand

(2)    Will you place the key of your life in the Master’s hand?

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