The Rich Young Ruler

The tenth chapter of the Gospel of Mark contains the incredible story of our Lord’s encounter with a rich young ruler. What makes this story so incredible is not so much the way this young man came to Christ, but the way he went away. He actually met all the criteria we claim one must meet to be saved. He came to Christ: ➀ earnestly ➁ publicly ➂ humbly ➃ praying ➄ confessing, and ➅ believing. In addition, he was already a moral and religious man, which is proven by his unattested claim to have “observed” Christ’s quoted “commandments” since his childhood. Still, despite it all, he went away lost.

Whereas we would have patted him on the back, welcomed him into the kingdom of God, and assured him of his salvation, Christ stood silently by while this young man walked away. The scene was so shocking to Christ’s disciples that they exclaimed, “Who then can be saved?” If this moral and religious man, who not only did everything that is humanly possible to be saved, but also had everything going for him that the world has to offer—he was young, rich, and powerful—could not be saved, then, who can? In response to His disciples exclamation, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”

Salvation is an impossibility apart from God. Regardless of whom we are or what we do, we cannot save ourselves. Only God can work the miracle of salvation on the sinner’s behalf. Until this truth sinks deep into our hearts we will never understand the desperate plight of the lost nor their desperate need of our prayers.

The only thing between your lost family and friends and a Christless eternity is an instant of time. There is no possibility of their salvation apart from a miracle of God. Without God’s performance of the humanly impossible on their behalf they are hopelessly and eternally lost.

The above should drive us to our knees to cry out to heaven for those lost souls for whom God has burdened us. The eternities of lost souls hang in the balance, but a sovereign God has chosen to tip the scales in their favor through our prayers. The prayers we offer for lost souls under God-given burdens will be used by God to alter eternal destinies. What more incentive do we need to spend our lives praying for the lost?

Sample Prayer:

You are the Lord, and apart from you there is no Savior. I thank you that all things are possible with you, even man’s salvation. For this greatest of all your miracles, the miracle of salvation, I shall forever praise your holy name.

I now drop to my knees under the weight of the burden you have given me for the lost. I pray that you will work the miracle of salvation on their behalf. Please, have mercy on their souls, for apart from your performance of the humanly impossible on their behalf they shall forever remain hopelessly and helplessly lost. Amen.