The International Sunday School Lessons By J. H. S. L E S S O N X I I—June 2 1 S - T h e G reat R e f u s a l — Mark 4:17-31. G olden T e x t : Ye cannot serve God and'Mammon. —‘Luke 16:13.
lawyer replied. He meant it. He thought it. Jesus “loved him,” was affectionately drawn to him. Unregenerate men have virtues and still bear, though^ fallen, the lines of the' Maker’s image (Gen. 9:6 ). Jesus recognized it and so should we. But this man lawyer as he was had no conception of the true nature of the Law (1 Cor. 2 :4 ; Matt. 5:20-30); but he did have a consciousness that there was that between the lines which he did not realize. W e are all lawyers enough for that. The test of the first table, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and mind and sou! and strength, the Lord did not apply. He brought it out in another way. But what would the inquirer have said to that? What would you? “ All this have I kept?” “ One thing thou lackest,” said the Good Teacher. One thing. The ■thing! A ship without a rudder—a house without a foun dation—a marriage without love—a form without life—one thing—all—but enough. “ Go, sell whatsoever thou hast and give to the' poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” We as sume the youth would say, with Nicode- mus, “We know that thou art a teacher sent from God” (John 3 :2).. The test was based on that. Would he heed God’s an swer through His accredited Messenger? Is it. not so with us ? The sacrifice, great as it was, could not buy eternal life but could certify obedient faith, the condition of the. life.. Thousands have acted literally on this word and have proved it to be not out of reason. This, however, is the only case where the Lord specifically commanded it. The apostles forsook all and followed Him (v. 28; Luke 5:1 1 ); Paul did the same (Phil. 3 :7 ); the Lord Himself made the sacrifice, became poor to make us rich (2 Cor. 8 :9 ). Many others have done so, and never felt that they were the poorer.
1. A n A nxious I nquirer . 1. Who He Was. “A young man,” “a lawyer” (Matt.), “a ruler” (Luke), ‘Very rich” (Matt., Mark, Luke). Moral, he kept the commandments; thoughtful, meditated “life” ; earnest, he ran to overtake Jesus; respectful, addressed Him as “Teacher” ; humble, he knelt; appreciative, called Him "good” ; amiable, Jesus “ loved him." It is unusual that a man—young, learned, official, rich should be anxious about eternal life, especially if his life (again unusual) is pure and moral and so ( ? ) self-righteous. 2. The Question. He said, "Good Teacher." Just what stress he lay on “good” we do not know. Jesus asked him, “ Why?” At least we may say that all know Him to be the good Teacher, and the Teacher of g ood ; and that is a sufficient condemnation for every man who refuses to follow Him. The young man’s confes sion condemned him in his refusal. If Jesus did not mean to imply that Himself was God, since He was good, He at least cut short all trust in self-righteousness by af firming, ( “‘There is none good but God” (Rom. 3:10-12), But to the question: “ What shall I do that I may inherit eter nal lifef” Let no child wait till he is a “young' man” before he settles that ques tion ! It is the great question and measures “the Great Refusal.” Job, David, Nicode- mus, the Woman of Samaria, the Philippian jailor all asked it (Job 9 :2 ; Ps. 24:3; John 3:1-4; 4:19, 20; Acts 16:30). Though this man was1young, learned, a ruler, rich and moral he was conscious of falling short of life eternal. Whatever his boast the moral ist knows that" his morality is but “filthy rags.” 3. The Lord’s Answer (Matt. 19:17). “ Keep the commandments.” He named those of the first table concerning social relations. “All these have I kept,” the
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