June 21, 2021

But I gave up everything

But I gave up everything

How much does it cost to follow Jesus? The answer is simple, everything, all of you and all that you have. That was too much for the rich man. But how do the disciples react to that whole situation? 

Greensburg Church of the Nazarene
31 Bluebird Lane, Greensburg, KY 42743

Christian Podcaster Association


**not a word for word transcript, but the sermon manuscript**




In the verses immediately before our passage today, Jesus interacts with a rich man. The rich man had asked him, “What must I do to gain eternal life?” Jesus answered, “Follow the Ten Commandments.” When the rich man responded, “These I have followed,” as if he had earned his own salvation, Jesus upped the ante. The Lord said, “Go sell everything you have and follow me.” And at this the rich man went away sad.


The disciples react to Jesus’s words to the rich man. They react with the same question we have, which is our question for today. That question is, how much does it cost to follow Jesus? And today is different, I am going to give that answer now. Mainly because most of you know it. To follow Jesus costs everything, all of you and what you have. The disciples have done that.


Mark 10:23-31


23 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!” 24 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! 25 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.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can ben saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 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, 30 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. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (NRSV)


This is the Word of God, for the people of God, thanks be to God.


IN THE TEXT: Been there, done that

***[v23-25] CAMEL IN THE EYE ***


Jesus is not saying if someone is rich, they will not make it into heaven. But the more someone has, the more they have to lose. Fear of loss is what is dangerous to them. However, Jesus is addressing a common teaching among the Jews. They believed that God’s favor was demonstrated through wealth, giving them the ability to afford the sacrifices and give to the temple. A glance at Abraham, Job, and Solomon gives argument to that teaching.

In verse 25, Jesus says, “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.” Some say this is referring to a camel going through the eye of a sewing needle. This is what the Greek word for “needle” does mean. Others believe Jesus is talking about a camel going through a small doorway, to fit they had to be unloaded and scrape through on their knees. Regardless, Jesus is implying a difficult, if not impossible task.


***[v26-27] CONFUSION IN THE EYE***


The disciples fully understand what Jesus was saying. His teaching had up ended what they had always been taught. That is why they react with, “Who can be saved then?” While it may be impossible for man to get “a camel through the eye of the needle” there is nothing impossible for God.


***[v28-31] CONFIDENCE IN THE EYE***


As he listens, Peter thinks about how he and his fellow disciples had come to follow Jesus. They had left behind their boats, nets, and a life centered on fishing. Those who were not fisherman made similar sacrifices. The disciples had already done what the rich man was unable to do, they gave up everything to follow Jesus.


Jesus tells Peter and the other disciples that the reward is greater than the cost. Everything they have given up will replaced within the Kingdom of God. This is not a promise that the disciples’ lives would return to what they left behind, but that what they would gain were joys lost within the new life. These would not come without trouble, notice in this list, Jesus mentions “persecution.” The joys gained in the kingdom of God would be reminders of the reward awaiting those who endure to the end.


In verse 31, Jesus makes sure to let the disciples know that just because they were the first to follow that it meant their faith was greater than anyone else’s faith. Nor because they sacrificed all before all that that gained them any special privileges. God’s kingdom does not work that way. The reward for their faith will be the same for the very last person who slips in before our Lord returns.


FROM THE TEXT: Been there, done that, owed nothing


The question that the disciples had, is the same one we asked looking at this passage. How much are we supposed to give to follow Jesus? Of course, the answer is everything, all that you are and all that you have. But what if you have given everything? That means God owes you eternal life, right?


Just because you gave everything to God does not mean He owes you anything. That would make God slaves to you and me. How could God be all-powerful if He becomes indebted to His creation in a quid pro quo exchange. A I will scratch your back if you scratch mine deal. This would also make the gift of eternal life not a gift, but something that can be purchased based on what we earn. And no one can earn their salvation.


Just because you gave your money, time, and devotion to the church does not mean the church owes you anything. The amount you tithe does not elevate the importance of your opinion. You may have been here every time the doors were open, but there are no gold stars in heaven for church attendance. Anything we do for the church we for Christ, not to gain anything but out of love for Him.


BEYOND THE TEXT: Been there, done that out of love


The cost to enter the Kingdom is great, but the reward is greater than the cost. You may never become a millionaire, but investing your love for God into others will lead to treasures in heaven (remember, the treasure of heaven is people). You may not get to move to Florida and grow old on some beach, but you will get to see the old become new. You may even lose this precious life our world holds so dear, but what is a breath here compared to His presence for eternity?


In the end we get the greatest gift, love. Not because it is owed to us, or we have earned it. Simply because God loves us so much that it floods our hearts with joy, love, peace, and assurance. And those are the things we try to earn, or declare we are owed from this world.




The greatest debt in the history of the universe, Jesus paid it all. And He says you owe nothing in return. Faith is His only requirement for eternal life, is it enough for you?