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Posts Tagged ‘mark 14’

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

Doug Wilson calls attention to the uniqueness of Mark’s account of the rich young man in a recent post, “A Good Ending.” He has some interesting thoughts that I’d never heard before:

We find the story of the rich young ruler in all three synoptics, but the gospel of Mark has some unique details (Mark 10:17). In Matthew and Luke, he just shows up somehow, and asks his question (Matt. 19:16;Luke 18:18). But in Mark, he runs up and he kneels. In all three, when Jesus gives His answer, the young man is sorrowful and goes away. But in Mark alone, we are told that in giving the answer, Jesus looked at him and loved him. My supposition, which connects to some other odd statements in the New Testament, is that that this young man was John Mark himself, and this is why we have the additional details. If so, the story has a good ending.

I had never noticed the difference how the Mark text said that Jesus loved him or how he runs up and kneels. Instantly, thanks to Mr. Wilson, I saw the connection to John. If you’ve never seen this before, in each gospel, except for Luke (who was not a direct witness nor connected with one), the author has a way of working himself into the story. Matthew is highly likely the tax collector in Matthew 9:9, John the disciple whom Jesus loved in John 21:20, and Mark has usually been accepted as the man who runs away naked in Mark 14:51-52. However, Mr. Wilson points out another option: maybe Mark (also known as John Mark in the book of Acts) was the rich young man. I think he might be right because of how the language used in Mark matches how John describes himself (as the disciple whom Jesus loved) in his gospel. Both use the description of being loved by Jesus.

I noticed one additional thing about the rich young man. As I read the account in Matthew about a week ago, I was struck by how the young man asks “What do I still lack?” after he answers Jesus’ question about obeying the commandments. This man knows he is still missing something. He did not come to Jesus to justify himself but to seek what he knows he is lacking! Each account details him walking away sorrowful but this is not a boasting man like the Pharisees or lawyers of the gospel accounts. This young man seems haunted by Jesus. He knows his surface level obedience is not enough. He wants more than just his riches. Maybe he got he wanted.

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