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The Vertical Relationship

By July 17, 2014August 30th, 2022Lost in Translation

Our Bible study has been in the book of Mark and I have found it very enlightening to see how many times Mark mentions the commands of God as opposed to the traditions of men. In the “olden” days, early in the Old Testament, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. The first group of commandments deals with the vertical relationship we have with God and the second group of commandments deals with our human relationships – one to another.

While Jesus talks about the kingdom of God and our relationship with the Father, there are numerous stories when Jesus teaches us about how we should treat one another. In the story of the rich young ruler, found in Mark, the young man asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life. Jesus instructs him about the relational commandments that God gave Moses, but at the same time reminds the young man that he is missing one thing. He instructs the man to sell his possessions, give to the poor and follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, the young ruler could not comply and ended up leaving. During the exchange between Jesus and the ruler, the thing that Jesus was trying to emphasize is that if the ruler had a great vertical relationship with the Father, he would have been far better in understanding the request that Jesus was making to take care of his fellow man.

That’s not so different from us. We tend to focus on our relationships with one another but the most important relationship that we should focus on is the relationship we have with the Father and His Son. I think that is why the commandments about God and our relationship with Him are listed first – and then the commandments with our fellow humans. The verse for this evening is the verse that Jesus uses when talking with the young ruler.

We are told, in Mark 10:21, “Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Notice that Jesus “loved” him even though Jesus knew that the man couldn’t comply with the request. My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to honor and praise Him before everything else. By doing that, we are in a far better position to love one another well. My prayer is that you will consider the request of God to work on your relationship with Him and see how your life improves. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…