Missional Jesus made powerful impressions. So powerful that once a rich man (Mark 10:17-31) comes up to Jesus and asks how he might find eternal life. Jesus’ answer surprises many today when they read the text with honesty:
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone. 19 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.’ ”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
28 Peter said to him, “We have left everything to follow you!”
29 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields–and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
One very simple point: one inherits the kingdom/eternal life by:
1. Following the missional Jesus who broke the Torah into two themes: Love God and love others. This is the point of the commandments.
2. By following the logic of Jesus to see that the second half of the commandments is how one discovers if one is doing the first half of the ten commandments. (Matthew makes this clear by adding the Jesus Creed’s second commandment: Matthew 19:19.)
3. By showing that one is fully devoted to following Jesus by giving up what was holding the man back: love for money and things were his “love God” substitute.
By and large, this interchange expresses what Jesus always expresses when someone wants to know the essence of life with God: follow Jesus.
Is this evangelism? You bet it is.