An arrangement of green and red fall leaves over a backdrop of stained glass in Trinity Church

Five Ways Into Sunday’s Scripture: Mark 10

MARK 10:17–31

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age — houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions — and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

This week’s Gospel reading is a familiar and tough reading for those of us who live with more than just our basic needs, who seem to lack nothing. It highlights how our attachment to possessions keeps us from following Jesus and serving others — our true treasure and calling as Christians. This is a difficult message. Yet, the good news is that, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” God is always calling us to shed what separates us from one another and from the Holy One. —Ruth Frey


In a commentary on the Gospel, Matt Skinner reflects on the nearly irresistible urge to soften this passage’s demands.


Glenn Jordan walks us through this important passage and notes that Jesus points to the relational commandments in responding to the man: “Jesus issues a challenge to practice a form of denial which brings him into relationship with others, relationship which will cost.”


In an artful devotion on her Art & Theology blog, Victoria Jones offers an image by British painter George Frederic Watts and a recording of a beautiful Hawaiian hymn, “Iesū Me Ke Kanaka Waiwai” (Jesus and the Rich Young Man).


“The Questioning” by Andrew King imagines what the man might have felt after he turned away from Jesus.