Mark 10:17-31

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




The rich young man rushed up to Jesus and called Him ‘Good Teacher’. No Rabbi in Jesus’ day was called ‘good’ for it implied purity. Only God was good. Jesus, and those who were with Him, recognised He was being addressed in a unique way.

Jesus’ question was an invitation to the young man to think about what he had said. But the man hurried on with his own question. Bowing on his knees before the Saviour made him closer to salvation than anything else could do. But he believed he had to work out his own salvation, not receive it as a free gift of grace.

Jesus only mentioned the commandments that are known as the ‘second table of the Law’ – those which deal with how people treat one another – and the young man was quick to assure Jesus that he had kept all these commandments since he was old enough to understand what they meant. He had done all that was humanly possible to keep them, and so considered himself to be a righteous man. But God wants the hearts of people to keep these commandments.

No one is able to keep the commandments in the way God wants without His help. Everyone needs a Saviour. But the young man did not hear what Jesus was saying to him.

Jesus’ response to these comments was to love him. He felt compassion for him because the young man was feeling empty. He knew he was missing something in his life.

Jesus tried to show him the futility of doing it all himself by making a suggestion He knew the young man would find hard to accept. He told him to give away everything that was important to him. Jesus knew that the young man’s gods were his wealth and possessions. He was held captive by them. The only way he could be freed was to believe in Jesus and accept Him as his Saviour. The young man turned away. He was sad. The only way he could be happy was to release his wealth and do what Jesus told him to do.

Jesus continued to talk to those who were with Him. He told them that people find it hard to understand how wealth can prevent them from entering the kingdom of God. This was news to those who heard Him, for it was accepted that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing and care. They believed the wealthy had no trouble in being saved. However wealth makes people rely on what they own rather than depending on God.

Wealthy people are also likely to consider that all they have done to gain their wealth is an indication of how they are doing in relation to God. They see their successful actions as the way to a noble relationship with God.

But Jesus is trying to make the point that receiving salvation is not possible for anyone to do in their own strength. They need to accept it from God as a free gift of grace.

Jesus used an amusing illustration to make His point. The camel was the largest animal in the area. The needle had a tiny hole. The idea of pushing a camel through this little space was ridiculous. It was clearly impossible. Only God’s grace could save a rich person – and it does as both Scripture (Zaccheaus, Joseph of Arimathea etc) and history have shown.

Peter wanted to make sure he’d got this right. He and the disciples had left everything behind when they followed Jesus. It’s as if he was checking out what their reward would be.

The disciples do hold a special place in the kingdom of heaven. They spent time with Jesus. They were instrumental in growing the church and they will be acknowledged in the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:14).

Jesus throws the question open to include all who follow Him. Not only will those who leave behind all they love to follow Him receive eternal life, they will also receive much more in return. A hundredfold is an indication of the plenty they will receive, rather than a literal figure.

Jesus wrapped up the conversation by saying that their idea of when and how they would be rewarded does not match up with God’s ideas. He will give unexpected rewards for His followers in His own time.

Meditation Moments

Day 1

Read Mark 10:17

What question would you ask Jesus today? Set aside some time to write your question down and then listen for His reply. It may come immediately – it may take a while. When you hear it, write that down too. Ask more questions if you have others. How does such an exercise help you in your relationship with Jesus?

Day 2

Read Mark 10:18-20

How would you respond to Jesus’ list of commandments if He gave them to you? Which one/s do you struggle with the most? Share your struggles with Jesus. What does He reply to you?

Day 3

Read Mark 10:21-22

What would be the most difficult things for you to give up and/or leave behind? Why are they so important to you? Jesus loved the man, even though He knew what His reply would be. How does it feel to be loved by Jesus at this moment, even though He knows what your reply would be? How will you respond to this conversation?

Day 4

Read Mark 10:23-27

‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ In the light of your meditations so far this week, where do you need God’s help to let go and to move forward? Speak to Him about these things and ask Him for His help. How does He reply?

Day 5

Read Mark 10:28-31

How does the thought of being rewarded by God make you feel? How do you feel about being rewarded for ‘stuff’ you just do because you are you and He is God? Do you think His grace is enough to make you feel able to accept any reward God has planned for you or do you have any sense of not being worthy to be rewarded? How does Jesus’ death on the Cross influence your answers? Speak to God about any struggles you may have in this regard. How does He reply?

Group Discussion


What have you loved that you have given away because it would bless someone else? How did you feel when you did so and how was it received?


  • Compassion causes us to recognise pain in others. How sensitive are you to other people’s pain? What makes you aware of how other people are feeling? (Body language, words, actions etc?) How do you feel when you realise someone was hurting and they did not give any indication of their pain or you missed the signals they did give?
  • In relation to the young man’s description of being wealthy, young, successful, how would you describe yourself Do you feel blessed? Are you living the good life? Or is life hard? What makes it so? Where is God in your life for you at this time?
  • What do you need most from God today? Why do you choose this one thing? How would you like God to help you? How do you feel about accepting the help of people whom God may send your way? How do you feel about sharing such things with your group?
  • Jesus told the young man to do the one thing that was the hardest thing for him to do. He had to break the grip of what was holding him captive and stop him from drawing close to God. What would be the most difficult thing for you to give up? Why?
  • How do you feel after answering these questions knowing that salvation is a free gift of grace and no action on your part can earn it?
  • How does the thought of being rewarded by God for all the sacrifices you have made for Him make you feel?
  • How has this discussion changed your view of yourself and your relationship with God, if at all? Why do you respond in this way?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?


Open our eyes and ears, Lord, so that we may see and hear the needs of others. Give us a heart to be interested and to help others who are in trouble. We want to be like You. Grant us the gift of a kind heart. May we be a voice for the voiceless, a giver to the poor, an encouragement to the hopeless.

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.


Look for simple ways to show compassion this week. Share with the group what happened next week.


Mark Chapter 10

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