Thursday, June 14, 2018

John Mark: The Rich Young Ruler?

     Most of us are probably familiar with the story of "The Rich Young Ruler" (as he has come to be called) narrated for us in the Gospel accounts (see Matt. 19:16-30; Mk. 10:17-26; and Lk. 18:18-27).
     The other day I heard one pastor say that the rich young man in the story walked away from Jesus straight into Hell! Actually, all my life I've heard preachers jump to this conclusion about The Rich Young Ruler. I never questioned that conclusion because, after all, the Bible says that the young man walked away from Jesus, right? But why does that have to be the end of the story? And how does that supposed conclusion illustrate Jesus' point that "with God all things are possible" (Mk. 10:27, KJV) - even a rich man getting saved, as hard as that may be! And truly it is difficult. Jesus says that it's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get saved![1]
     Actually, church tradition as well as even clues in the Bible itself support the conclusion that The Rich Young Ruler is none other than John Mark - the writer of the Gospel of Mark![2]  Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001), the founder of The Voice of the Martyrs ministry, writes:
     The work of spreading the gospel [especially] where it is forbidden or hindered must be treated as an emergency.
     The Greek word eutheos, translated in Luke 14:5 as "straightaway" [immediately], is the most characteristic word of Mark's Gospel. It is found more often in Mark than in all the other Gospels combined. The reason is as follows. Tradition identifies Mark as the rich man to whom Jesus said that in order to be perfect he should sell everything he had and give to the poor. It seemed to him at that time too big a price, and he left the place with sadness. Later he repented and fulfilled the commandment of the Lord, but there remained remorse in his heart for the time lost in disobedience. Therefore he repeats continually in his Gospel the word eutheos - straightaway.
     What is good must be done straightaway - immediately. Only this moment is ours. The next moment might belong to death, even if we are young and in perfect health."[3]

     Additionally, I'd like to draw attention to a couple of articles that are especially good on this topic. These articles give more details relating to the clues in the Bible supporting the conclusion that The Rich Young Ruler is John Mark, the writer of the Gospel of Mark. Please click on the following links to read the articles:

Just something to think about . . . John Mark: The Rich Young Ruler turned Gospel Writer! "With God all things are possible!"


[1] But the Lord our God is able! He "gives life to the dead and calls things into existence that do not exist" (Rom. 4:17, CSB). "Everything is possible with God" (Mk. 10:27, NLT)!

[2] John Mark is mentioned by Luke in the book of Acts (Acts 12:12, 12:25, 13:5, 15:37), by the apostle Paul in some of his letters (Col. 4:10; Philemon 1:24; 2 Tim. 4:11), and also by Peter in his first epistle (see 1 Pet. 5:13).

[3] Wurmbrand, In the Face of Surrender (North Brunswick: Bridge-Logos Publishers, 1998), p. 233, italics his, first brackets added. Note: This book has since been updated and revised and is now titled The Overcomers.

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