What Fire Can’t Destroy (Mk 10:17-31)

This is Love, Part 1 – Mark 10:17-31

This is part 1 from YC This Is Love Series (thisisloveseries.com).  I’ve included some more info on this blog post.  Hopefully it is helpful.  If you have questions or want to comment with some more ideas, feel free to comment below!

 

Key Verse:

“‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.’ And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man it is impossible, but not with God.  For all things are possible with God.‘” – Mark 10:25-27, ESV.

Description:

Teenagers have more disposable income than any other age group.  Unfortunately, the decisions teenagers make about obtaining possessions are life-impacting.  This lesson will explore Jesus’ response to a young man who wouldn’t give up his possessions to follow Him.

Opener:

Mark wrote around the time of Emperor Nero’s reign, and was, in part, responding to Nero’s persecution of Christians. In the summer of A.D. 64 Rome was devastated by a fire that destroyed 70% of the city, resulting in many becoming homeless and poor.  If your house was on fire and you could save 3 things, what would they be? (Remember answers or write them down)

Fire In Rome:

The fire in Rome in 64 was devastating.  To give a small picture, it damaged eleven of Rome’s fourteen regions. At first, Nero was blamed because he took much of the damage land and built his Golden House.  As time progressed, he tried to push the cause of the fire on the Christians in an effort to bring down the new growing group.  Fortunately it didn’t really work and many took pity on the Christians for the horrible tortures inflicted on them.  By 66 Nero regained public favour, and unknowingly gave Christianity fuel for growth as Christian martyrs (like Peter) gave the movement strength to propagate the gospel.[i]

Key Points:

1. We’re all on a journey – Mark sets up this story by first talking about a couple dealing with divorce (Mk 10:1-12), then about the importance of Kids (Mk 13:16), and now a young man concerning possessions.

Life brings all of us on so many journeys.  No matter what your age, you’re moving through these journeys.  Along the way, we make choices and decisions that impact the next journey ahead of us.  The question is, will we allow God to be at the centre or our human desires?

2. We naturally want stuff – The young man had lots of possessions, and they weighed more important than following Jesus (Mk 10:22). Even the disciples were double checking with Jesus on their actions (Mk 10:24, 26, 28).

If we have money, the first thing we think about is, “what am I’m I going to buy…how am I going to spend it…what am I saving up for?…”  It’s human nature to think this way.  Now, don’t get me wrong, having stuff isn’t necessarily the issue, but the question remains – what does God desire from us.

3. We are called to be like Jesus – Jesus came to serve, not to be served.  We not only obey, but serve those around us.  Possessions become a tool to serve, rather than to be served.  If Jesus is our priority, then possessions don’t rule our reality.

This is most counter-cultural concept in Christianity.  In our world, how much you make, how many cool toys you have, how many pairs of shoes you have, what kind of car you drive, all define who you are.  In eternity, our relationship with God defines us.  Will you allow yourself to be like Jesus.

4. It’s impossible without God – The young man couldn’t do it.  Jesus admits it’s impossible with man, but possible with God (Mk 10:25, 27). Transformation doesn’t come easy, but God can do anything.  It starts with us becoming less, and God’s eternal values becoming more.  How is it possible? (Mk 10:32-34).

Through the cross, what was impossible with us alone becomes possible with God.  How powerful is that?  Our human desires will stop us every time, but because of the cross, what defines us can change.  Will you let the transformation begin?

Application:

With God’s help, our human desire for material things can be transformed into eternal ministry. It’s a mind change that affects our heart.  When we put God first, then love will control how we use our possessions.  This change becomes what we value, and it will last forever.  Possessions will eventually be lost.  Early Christians knew their faith would continue, but Nero took everything else.  What do we value?

Small Group Guide:

The possessions controlled the Young Man.  God is calling us to control the possessions he has blessed us with.

  • Why do possessions control us?
  • Do possessions make you happy? Why or why not?
  • Think about the 3 items you said you would try to save from a fire.
    • Are these items controlling you?
    • What makes them special?

Activity:

Here are some activities you can do or encourage in your group (Make sure students chat with their parents before giving away things they own):

  • “Closet Clearout” – go through your closet/dresser, remove all the clothes you haven’t worn in a while and give them to a good-will charity.
  • “Gaming Give-a-Way” – go through gaming stuff/favorite pass-time, and select something to give to charity or someone who couldn’t afford it.
  • “Fast Food Friday” – every time you buy fast food on Friday, donate the same amount of money to your local food bank.
  • Do you have more ideas? Share them with us by commenting below!!

 


[i] Boatwright, Mary T., Daniel J. Gargola, and Richard J. A. Talbert. The Romans From Village to Empire. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 333-334, 349.