March 27, 2011

Week of the Third Sunday in Lent

Monday, Day Seventeen
            The Lectionary

Morning - Psalm 68:1-19, Genesis 37:3-28, 36, 1 Corinthians 9:15      
Evening - Psalm 71, Jeremiah 7:1-15, Mark 10:17-31


 Mark 10:17-31

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.  And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.  Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

            Commentary

The Gospel Reading for today turns to the Gospel of Mark, where we will continue for the next two weeks before returning to John.  Often called, "the rich, young ruler" the reading for today tells of a man who comes to Jesus professing his own righteousness.  He has obviously heard Christ teaching about eternal life, and has come to show that he deserves it through his keeping of the Law of God.  "All these have I observed from my youth."  But Jesus shows that his statement is false. The greatest commandment is to love God above all things, but this man loves his wealth and himself above God.  Therefore, he is not a good man who deserves Heaven.  He is a sinner, an idolater, and he is unworthy of the Heaven he claims to have earned.

            Devotional Thoughts

Lent is no big mystery.  It is simply a time of devotion to the serious practice of holiness.  The heart of Lent is repentance.  Before we can repent of sin we must find it in our lives, which is the process of self examination.  After we find sin we confess it.  That means we agree with God about our sin.  But we have left something out, have we not?  For how can we agree with God about sin, or find sin, or repent of sin if we do not first of all recognize sin?  And so we begin our devotional today by asking the question, what is sin? 

Sin is anything that is in any way less than 100% complete holiness.  Any failure to be or do 100% good is sin.  Sin is therefore, first of all a disposition of our being.  Adam and Eve were righteous at the start.  They became sinners when they chose to sin.  Their natural righteousness was distorted.  Their natural goodness was corrupted, and they became sinners in their beings as well as in their actions.  Since then, all people are born with the same corrupted being.  To return to the example of the castle and the throne, we are all born with ourselves on the throne.  This translates into an inborn, natural inclination to sin.  This inclination is itself sin.  So we are sinners before we actually commit a sinful thought, word, or deed.  We need God to both forgive our sinful deeds, and to incline our being towards righteousness.

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