40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers (Week One: Saturday)

Saturday

Confession: Psalm 130:5–8

I await Yahweh; my soul awaits,

and I wait for his word.

My soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen for the morning.

Yes, more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, wait for Yahweh.

For with Yahweh there is loyal love,

and with him there is abundant redemption.

And he will redeem Israel

from all its iniquities.

Reading: Mark 10:17–31

And as he was setting out on his way, one individual ran up and knelt down before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do so that I will inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all that you have, and give the proceeds to the poor—and you will have treasure in heaven—and come, follow me.” But he looked gloomy at the statement and went away sorrowful, because he had many possessions.

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it is for those who possess wealth to enter into the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astounded at his words. But Jesus answered and said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” And they were very astounded, saying to one another, “And who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” Peter began to say to him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields on account of me and on account of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times as much now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and fields, together with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Reflection

The law says, You shall not commit adultery; but you may not even desire—kindling passion by curious and earnest looks. You shall not kill, says the law; but you are not even to return a blow. On the contrary, you are to offer yourself to the smiter. How much more ascetic is the gospel than the law! You shall not swear is the law; but you are not to swear at all, either a greater or a lesser oath, for an oath is the parent of perjury. You shall not join house to house, nor field to field, oppressing the poor; but you are to set aside willingly even your just possessions, and to be stripped for the poor, that without hindrance you may take up the cross and be enriched with the unseen riches.

—Gregory Nazianzen

Select Orations of Saint Gregory Nazianzen

Response

What cares of this world have you elevated above following Jesus? Sometimes we prioritize even good things above our call to discipleship. Pray that your desire to follow Jesus would trump all of the good things in your life.[1]

 

[1] Van Noord, R., & Strong, J. (Eds.). (2014). 40 Days to the Cross: Reflections from Great Thinkers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

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