If What Jesus Said Seems Hard, Try This

Mark Furlong
5 min readMar 26, 2024
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Jesus taught incredibly loving and positive truths. He also taught ideas that can be very challenging. Here are a few suggestions on what to do when you’ve just read some challenging words of His.

Mark 10:17–30

In Mark 10:17–30, Jesus has an encounter with “The rich young ruler”, followed by some powerful teaching. Just in case you’re not very familiar with the story, here is a quick recap.

Jesus had just finished ministering in one area and was getting ready to move on to the next location. A man runs up to Jesus, kneels before Him, and says, “Good, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life.?” (Mark 10:17, NASB).

Great Question

That is a fantastic question to ask because receiving eternal life changes not only our eternity but also our present quality of life. Eternal life starts the second we receive Jesus and continues on when we leave these bodies.

Jesus tells Him there is only One who is good,and that is God. Then says to Him “You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Do not defraud. Honor your father and mother.” (Mark 10:19, NASB).

The man tells Jesus he’s done that since he was young.

Jesus responds, “One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But at these words he was saddened and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” (Mark 10:21b-22, NASB)

It’s Possible Jesus’ Words Can Sadden Us

It’s interesting, whether we are rich or poor or somewhere in between, hearing Jesus say those words to us, “sell ALL YOU POSSESS and give it to the poor” can actually make us sad.

“I need my things to live. I worked hard for all this; why should I give the efforts of all my hard work to those who haven’t worked as hard or as smart? What about my family? I need to take care of them.What about my future? I need to have security for the future.”

Those are all reasonable thoughts. The Bible, especially Jesus, taught quite a bit about financial stewardship, giving your best effort in your work, and even providing an inheritance for your children and grandchildren.

Why Would Jesus Say This?

So why would Jesus tell this man to sell everything, give it away to the poor, and then come follow Him?

One of the big keys to understanding was the first part of verse 21, which I left out. “Looking at him, Jesus felt LOVE FOR HIM, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack; go and sell all you possess….”

When Jesus heard this man had sincerely done his best to follow God’s commandments in treating others well, He felt love for Him.

Jesus spoke to Him out of a strongly felt love, and what He said next was not meant to be cruel or harsh.

When I read this and how the man felt after hearing Jesus’ words to him, it hit me, when I feel Jesus is being unreasonably demanding in His teaching, I’m missing the fact that everything He said and did is out of real love for me.

Everything Jesus said or did flowed from God’s holy love for you and me.

If something seems hard to me, there is something I’m missing. My priorities aren’t right or my perception of what really matters is off.

If this man had understood what really matters and the incredible opportunity Jesus was giving Him, then he would have been able to celebrate this holy invitation and step into his God-appointed calling.

His response would have been much different.

This is the only time in the Gospels that Jesus specifically told a person to do this. Several times, He taught everyone that if they wanted to follow Him, they would need to surrender every aspect of their lives and pick up their cross. (Luke 14, Luke 9).

But Jesús knew this is what this man needed to experience real, eternal life and to fulfill God’s plans for him.

Jesus said, ‘if you do this, “you will have treasures in heaven, and come follow Me.”

Jesus was not only assuring him that he would have eternal treasure, but He was also giving Him a personal invitation to be part of His traveling team.

He would get to see all Jesus did and taught. Jesus would train him for the greatest mission of all time. Jesus was giving Him an incredible opportunity.

In verses 29–30 Jesus told His disciples, “Truly, I say to you, there is NO ONE who has left houses or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms FOR MY SAKE and FOR THE GOSPELS’ SAKE, but that he will receive a hundred times as much NOW IN THE PRESENT AGE, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.”

Jesus understands life. He understands how it all works and what matters most.

He wants us to experience real, abundant, eternal life. He knows what kinds of things block it or hinder it.

Three Suggestions

My encouragement to myself and you, is when you read something in God’s Word that seems hard, first take a step back and remind yourself “God is love.” God is saying this out of love for us; love for me.

Secondly, look for the love-driven principle behind those words. You may have to dig a little, but it’s there in Scripture. There is a spiritual, life-giving treasure waiting for you to discover it.

Thirdly, use it as an opportunity to evaluate your priorities, beliefs, or whatever is making you uncomfortable, sad, or confused. Is there something in your life God is wanting to deal with so He can bless you more?

Jesus told His disciples when anyone is willing to give up things to follow Him, God would eventually reward it 100 times as much both in this life and in the next (along with some persecution. Remember, even persecution for the Gospel has rewards nad blessings attached to it).

If you’re interested in FREE resources, along with books, courses, and coaching to help you live the FULL PURPOSES OF GOD for you life, head over to www.TruVineMission.com.



Mark Furlong

Author, Coach Helping busy, active people know and live ALL of God’s purposes for their life: the COMPLETE life. www.TruVineMission.com,