Mark 10:23-31 - Wealth & Faith

Mark 10 has a lot of meat in it and is taking me several readings to dig through. This is the third post and I'm not yet done.

Mark 10:23-31 - This passage, well, at least these words of Jesus have been on my mine lately. That and Jesus inability to work any miracles in his hometown because of their lack of faith. (Matthew 13, Mark 6, Luke 4, John 4)

The people of Nazareth knew Jesus too well, that was their problem. He was the carpenter's son, that kid who used to hang at the synagogue. They knew who he was, you see, there was no way he was capable of anything special.

I contend that we have much the same problem in the America. I think that Jesus is far too familiar to us, so much so that he can do no miracles in our midst either. We hear his name on the radio and in church, we see him proclaimed on TV and see his fish on our cars. He's everywhere, well, at least people are using his name everywhere. He's common place.

In addition we are wealthy and self reliant. We know the answers to so much now, we have great banking and manufacturing systems. We know how the world works.

Frankly, we no longer need Jesus.

We have too much and have accomplished too much and have heard too much empty Jesus talk so that we no longer can see Him being able to transform us. We've learned that the world just doesn't work that way, so Jesus has no power for us. He has no honor here.

Several weeks ago, when I read about the faith of the bleeding woman who was healed, I wondered why I didn't have such faith. Why can't I simply know that by being in the presence of Jesus, I could be changed?

A friend who once had a blog called Virusdoc, asked me a couple of years ago if I thought real transformation was still possible. In his view, even religious people simply weren't transformed. Did it still happen? I wanted to answer yes, but the evidence was on his side. Religious folk talked a lot about living with their sin, but there weren't many stories of real transformation. Certainly not in proportion to the number of professed believers. I wondered why.

Go dig up stories, however, from China or India or Iraq and you'll find transformations and miracles left and right. It's amazing. This week, the leaders of the church we support in Indonesia will be here to share what God's doing there. They've done it before, and it's astounding what happens with their faith, and a bit humbling and scary. Frankly, Jesus simply isn't doing here in America what he is in Indonesia. The difference? They are poor and know they are in need, we are wealthy and think we are set. As a result, I think their Jesus is still huge and amazing, while ours, like those in Nazareth, is too familiar and routine.

I realize that my Jesus is too small, or rather, my faith in myself is far too big. I want to be amazed be Jesus again. I want to know that he is able, no matter how big the odds. I want to reach out and touch his cloak, knowing that a simple brush of the fabric has the power to transform. And hearing his words here in Mark 10, I'm more than a little frightened to be so wealthy. But I take comfort in verse 27:

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God."

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4 Comments

Thought provoing post Salguod!

I wonder if we Americans just live from our head too much.. it is sort-of a western culture type of thing.. having to fully understand something before we embrace it.

Maybe if we relied more on our instincts and that deep inner voice of the Spirit things would be different.. maybe we would be a bit more open to the supernatural.. not sure.

I do agree with some of what you're saying.

I think that Jesus is here and working with us. It's just that we are so media centered that miraculous things are super sized so we tend to miss the small things. Do you think that the bleeding woman's story wold be a big deal now? Not to anyone who was flipping through the channels. It would however, be big to those of us who know her, those of us who cook meals for her and call her just to chat because we love her. I'm going through a hard time in my life at the moment and I can assure you that Jesus is here. He's in the words my friends speak and my family. We are looking for big when small is in our faces. A few day ago a friend was facing a long term illness today he's at home with his wife and small boys. Seems it's something else. We miss Jesus because we are looking for burning bushes and not the small differences He makes in our day-to-day lives.

Milly - That's some great insight there. If you think about it, there were thousands impacted by Jesus' minstry and we only know a couple dozen specific ones. Many stories went untold. I owsuspect many of those were little things too. Today it's true as well.

Hey Buddy,

Wow, some terrific insight from both of you. This topic is ever on my heart. The impact that western Christiandom has had on our modern churches, regardless of ANY doctrine or faith paradigm, has been tragic. When studying church history...well, I don't want to get that deep into it, but milquetoasting the Christ has been the enemy's ploy from the beginning of the creation with Adam and Eve, and has been terribly effective with the integration of Judea/Christian morality into society. It would seem that having this basic societal morality would be a good thing, and to a degree, I think it is, but the truth of the matter is that "morality" and religion as truth get so confused with each other, that true followers of Christ get confused. Interacting with society, and having these basic understandings of morality been ingrained in us since birth, we begin to think that 'doing the right thing' under pretence of what our filtered understanding of righteousness is, not taking into account the extreme influence the middle ages has taken on us and the complete cultural paradigm shift (which really started with the Greek antiquity being worshiped by the Romans, and propagated over time through the church and so forth) that has taken place into account, then we can clearly understand and see why we are more Platonic than we are true Christian; thus, our cultural filters of which we see the "faith" in is completely tainted. I have found that my faith in the past several years has been very transforming in my heart and mind, as well as my relationships, since I rejected modern Christiandom completely. I have rejected what I know as Christian, and started over. Since then, I have seen wonderful, powerful things happen, and also tragic, terrible things, of which I still do not understand, but my trust in the preeminence of Christ in ALL things makes it so clear that all things are for Christ. In this, the smallest detail in an event, both in my life and globally, is magnanimous! All things that happen are for Christ, ergo (love using that word in a sentence), ergo, all things positive is the Christ working, and all things perceived negative is the Christ working, so it is all amazing. Colossians 1:9-18 speaks of the preeminence of Christ, and to me this scripture is extremely faith building. We have a boundless God, and when we look through the taint of our modern culture, we can only see the poison that has spread into our thinking, and not the rest of the body, thus stripping us of our understanding of how healthy the rest of us are. I don't know if I am making any sense, but I hope I am.



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  • Hey Buddy, Wow, some terrific insight from both of you. This topic is ever on my heart. The impact that western Christiandom has had on our modern churches, regardless of ANY doctrine or faith paradigm, has been tragi...

  • Milly - That's some great insight there. If you think about it, there were thousands impacted by Jesus' minstry and we only know a couple dozen specific ones. Many stories went untold. I owsuspect many of those were l...

  • I do agree with some of what you're saying. I think that Jesus is here and working with us. It's just that we are so media centered that miraculous things are super sized so we tend to miss the small things. Do you thi...

  • Thought provoing post Salguod! I wonder if we Americans just live from our head too much.. it is sort-of a western culture type of thing.. having to fully understand something before we embrace it. Maybe if we relied m...

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