Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Growing in Grace is a blog by Pastor Matthew Molesky. His posts explore the Bible, theology, ecclesiology, culture, books, family, and life.

Striking Statements

strik * ing. (adjective). the attracting of attention by use of the unusual, extreme, or prominent. Yes. That is exactly how I've heard Jesus talking over a couple of mornings this week. He has a wonderful habit of piercing the heart and exposing motives and getting one to think by the way that he talks. He says things you wouldn't expect. Striking statements...

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 10:21-22, ESV)

You've probably heard this story before. It is Jesus talking to the rich young ruler. This young man has just run up on Jesus, cast himself before him on his knees, and wants to know what he needs to do to live forever.

Consider Jesus' words. Seen with the right heart, with a receptive mind, how could they possibly be disheartening!? How could they cause someone to go away sorrowful!? Jesus has just told this young man how to have treasure in heaven and eternal life. What's more, he has personally invited him to come with him, hang out with him, follow him, learn from him, get to know him, be present with him. A personal invitation from the Son of God to be his traveling companion and disciple!

But possessions and money held too much of a pull. They were the center of gravity in this young man's world. So he just...walked...away. From Jesus. To things.

Yeah, I'm going to go there -- How often do we walk away to other things? How often do we let other things replace the opportunity to hang out with Jesus?

  And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart. Get up; he is calling you.” And throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.” And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed him on the way.

Goodness, so much could be said here about the awesomeness of Jesus. But I just want to point your attention to that middle sentence. Consider the simple way that Jesus speaks with this man, which is the way he so often speaks with people in his ministry, which is the way I think he speaks toward us. You see, I believe Jesus still asks us: "What do you want me to do for you?"

Why would it be different? Why wouldn't he still be engaging with you this way? After all, he is the one who said, "Ask, and it will be given to you" (Mt. 7:7; Lk. 6:38; 11:9).

The implication is simple but powerful. This means something for prayer. It should change the way we approach our God.

Go to Jesus. There he sits, at the right hand of the Father, waiting.

"What do you want me to do for you?"

Beloved, we have a beautiful, stunning, striking Savior. I pray his words have increased your love for him. I know they have for me.

Preaching and the Preacher

From Rebuke to Rejoicing