Tuesday After the Sixth Sunday After Epiphany Mark 10:17-31
TUESDAY AFTER THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
"Then who can be saved?"
This day has been called Shrove Tuesday since the Middle Ages. It was called that because the word shrove means a kind of cleansing. It is observed on the last day before the Lenten fast, which lasts from now until the evening before Easter day. As such, it was the last day people could fill their bellies with meat, eggs, milk, and other foods that were forbid-during Lent. And that's just what they did. They would eat until they could eat nothing more. It's become a tradition that in some cultures is called Fat Tuesday.
Today, we Americans have many more opportunities to eat until we're full than we've ever had before. We belong to the wealthy nations of the world. We should be thankful for this and not forget one thing.
Today, in our Bible reading, we read about the rich young, man who came to Jesus. He had many possessions. it didn't stop him from being honest and kind. And he had a longing for God that was so strong he sought out Jesus. There was something inside of him that wouldn't give him peace.
Jesus liked him. Mark 10:20 says He loved him when He saw him. That was precisely the reason Jesus told him as clearly as possible what was missing. He had to liberate himself from everything that tied him down—his good standing and wealth. In other words, good standing, security and standard of living can become the idols that keep us away from God. These verses are a severe reminder for us on Shrove Tuesday, and all the other days, that we're preoccupied with the good things in life, much more so than we should be and much more so than many other people in the world.
It wasn't strange, then, that the disciples asked, "Then who can be saved?" Jesus' answer shows what a difficult problem we face. It's impossible for us to be saved, to approach God, to be freed from everything that ties us down and keeps us outside of His kingdom. But everything is possible for God—even things that seem impossible, like managing things in such a way that even we can be saved.
Lord, dear heavenly Father, You say here just what I've thought and what I've feared. It's impossible. For us it's impossible to achieve salvation. I have to be a radically different person if I want to be a part of Your kingdom. I doubt that's even possible. I think about everything I own, everything I think I need, everything I would find so hard to leave behind. I realize how much I think about myself and how much I worry about my own interests and what is best for me. But for You, all things are possible. I am beginning to understand that it is precisely the impossible that You made possible when You let Your Son die, that whoever believes in Him would be saved. Help me see and believe. Work that miracle in me as only You can do. For the sake of Your dear Son. Amen.