Series: Short Stories with Jesus
Message: Failing Faces
Preacher: Dena King
Reflection: David Oceguera
Live Wonder: Jessyka Albert
Live Adventure: Jessyka Albert
Live Purpose: Jason Calvert
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Mark 10:17-27 in the New Living Translation (NLT). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: As Jesus was starting out on His way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to Him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
A surface reading of this passage would seem to indicate that this man’s posture towards Jesus is one of respect and reverence. He addresses Jesus as “good teacher” which is interesting because up until this point in scripture only God was ever characterized as “good.” As we dig beneath the surface to the cultural customs of the day, we discover that it was common for men to greet each other as “good sir” or in this case “good teacher.” The expectation was that Jesus would in turn greet this man as “good sir,” but He did not. Jesus hardly ever did what others expected of Him, which is probably why they were often upset with Him. Jesus often used moments like this to teach the deeper realities of God’s goodness and what is required of genuine faith. He did not respond with the customary greeting, and instead affirmed that God alone is good. This must have been a startling greeting for this man who who expected Jesus to affirm his own moral goodness. His true motivation was not to learn how to inherit eternal life but rather to be assured that eternal life already belonged to him.
This man fell into the trap of relying on his own goodness and works to earn favor in the sight of God. The good news about God’s love for us is that we do not have to perform for God in order to gain His favor. God’s grace is given freely with no strings attached. God gives His grace because it is His good pleasure to be gracious to humanity.
Nevertheless, despite the goodness of God, we tend to have this way of commodifying Jesus. We make Jesus into our image to meet our individual needs, but Jesus is so much more. Our job is to reflect on the motivations for our faith in Jesus. Does our motivation for believing in Jesus come from what we think we can get out of Him or is it because we want to enter into a relationship with the Giver of Life? May your faith be motivated by a desire to sit at the feet of Jesus and be in the presence of the Creator of all things.
Recalibrate: What are your motivations for believing in Jesus?
Respond: In prayer, ask God to align your motivations for faith in Christ with God’s love and goodness.
Research: Read Romans 3:21-31 and reflect on the righteousness of God and how God’s righteousness makes us righteous.
Remember: “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” —Mark 10:27 (NIV)
David Oceguera is senior pastor of the Orange Seventh-day Adventist church in Orange, California. He and his wife Kara write a weekly blog called “In Pursuit of Love” which gives practical real life tools for healthier, happier marriages.
This is a story that reminds us that God’s love is not something to be earned. Ask yourself this question, “How did my child earn my love?” They earned it by existing. God’s love is even more powerful than that. Thank God that He has loved you and your child before either of you were ever born.
What are some things that you should do to be considered a good person? Why do you think those things matter? Do you think on days when you’re really good God loves you more? The great thing about God is that He loves us no matter what kind of day we are having, a good one or a bad one.
When you meet someone, how long does it take you to decide whether you like them or not? The average person decides whether or not they like someone they meet within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. First impressions are crazy important! In the passage this week, we’re introduced to a “successful” dude who meets Jesus. What’s interesting are the first words that come out of his mouth, “Good teacher.” The original word used here—good—is typically only used in reference to God. But he also calls him “teacher.” It’s like he hasn’t decided who Jesus is. God? Or just another rabbi? Have you decided who Jesus is? Is He just another good guy/teacher or is He actually God? How does your life reflect this?