31 Jul Mark 25: How to enter God’s kingdom
17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 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.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 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.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
I think it is safe to say that today we live in a world that is obsessed with resumes. What is a resume? A resume is an argument; it is a case that gives credentials to who we are. We don’t write in our resume, “I am 36 years old, I am a freeloader who still lived in my parents’ house, and I like it.” Right? A resume is a list of our merits. Our accomplishments. Our qualifications. And the purpose of a resume is to get us into some place that we desire. For example, how do we get into college? We wave our resumes at them. “Look at my grades in high school. I barely pass but I still pass. So, I’m confident that I’ll pass college as well.” If we want a marketing job, we wave our resumes at that job. “I am the best marketer for KFC. I mentioned KFC in my sermon a lot and I did not even get a royalty.” A resume is a list of our merits to get us to some place we desire. We can’t get anywhere in the world without a good resume.
But we not only use our resumes to get to someplace we desire, but we also use our resumes in everything we do. We use our resumes for friendship. When we first come to a new place, we want people to accept us. Let’s say it is your first time coming to RSI. Ladies, you would be thinking, “What should I wear? Should I dress up or dress down? Oh no, I look like a beggar. I don’t have anything to wear. I better buy some new clothes.” While you already have a wardrobe full of clothes. Why? Because you already assume that people will size you up and judge whether you are good enough to enter their circle or not. The same with romance. When we choose our partners, we look at their resumes. Gentlemen, what do we do when we pursue a woman? We show her our resume. We say, “Hey girl, here is why you should date me. Look at my income. Look at my achievements. Look at my MBTI and yours. We are like a match made in heaven.” What we are doing with our resumes is we are saying, “You will not find a better guy for you than me. I am your destiny.”
We lived in a world system structured by resumes. A good resume gets us in while a bad resume kicks us out. The problem is that we are not only using our resumes for the things of this world, but we also use our resumes in our relationship with God. We want God to open the door of heaven for us because of our resumes. We think that we can enter God’s kingdom with our resumes. But can we? Our passage for today deals with this question. How can we enter God’s kingdom? Or the other way to say it is, what must we do to be saved? This is a universal question that is asked by everyone of every age and every place. And this is the most important question in life. Because the answer to this question has eternal significance.
Let me give you the context of the passage first. If you remember our sermon from last week, Jesus says that the kingdom of God belongs to such people as children. And Jesus is not pointing to the qualities of children but the characteristics of children. It is those who are needy, those who are helpless, those who cannot do anything on their own, they are the ones who shall enter the kingdom of God. It is only those who receive the kingdom of God like a child who will enter it. And in our passage for today, we find someone who is in striking contrast to a child. We find someone with lots of assets. We find someone with a flawless resume. And he wants to enter the kingdom of God. And Mark is making it clear to us that the entry to the kingdom of God is not as we might expect. Get this. We cannot enter the kingdom of God with our resumes. Salvation from start to finish is not a human achievement. It is a gift of God.
So, let’s get into the passage. I have four points for my sermon. The resume; The missing piece; The difficulty; The reversal.
Mark 10:17-20 – 17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 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.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”
As Jesus makes his way after blessing little children, a man runs up to Jesus and kneels before Jesus. Mark does not tell us much about this man. But Luke tells us that this man is a rich ruler, and Matthew tells us that he is young. That is why he is known as a rich young ruler. And let me add, he is probably good-looking as well. It is very hard to be young and rich and not good-looking. And we also find from the story that this man is righteous. He obeys all the laws since his youth. So, if we list his qualities: he is a leader, young, rich, handsome, and morally excellent. This man has the total package. He has the perfect resume. I am not sure if he is single or not, but if he is, every mother would want him to marry their daughter. Right moms? And not only that, despite having the total package, this man is willing to admit that something is lacking in his life. And he comes to see Jesus for it. This man’s qualities would put most Christian guys to shame.
So, he comes to Jesus and asks a profound question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And this is not a test. This is a genuine question. This man holds Jesus in great honour. Think about it. This man has a good career, a good reputation, and a good income. He is at the top of the ladder. He is the best of the best. He ticks the box of a perfect Christian. He has everything but he realizes something is lacking. He can’t get rid of the feeling, “There is something that I am missing.” Despite his goodness, there is a sense of insecurity about not being good enough. He is lacking one final piece of the puzzle. One final piece. That’s it. And he seeks Jesus for that one final piece that will complete his life. He expects Jesus to tell him one great deed that he must do to enter the kingdom of God. This man is ready to pay the cost of eternal life. “Tell me, Jesus. What does it cost? How much? I’ll pay for it.”
Look at Jesus’ response to this man’s question. Jesus says, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” What a strange answer. Is Jesus denying that he is good? I don’t think so. We need to understand that for the Jews, “good” is an attribute that only belongs to God. They don’t call other people “good.” There is no one good but God. God is the standard of good and no one can compare to God. Only God alone is good. So, Jesus is not denying that he is good. Jesus is asking this man to think. Jesus is saying, “Do you know what you are saying by calling me good? No one is good except God alone. If you call me good, then I cannot just be a teacher. If I am good, then I must be God.”
But what is shocking is what happens next. Jesus gives the man a to-do list. This is weird. You and I know that there is nothing we can do to inherit eternal life. Salvation is by grace through faith alone and not by works. But here we find Jesus giving the young man a to-do list. Jesus decides to play along in this man’s “game of good.” “Okay, let’s start with 6 out of the 10 commandments. Do not steal, do not murder, do not commit adultery…” Jesus intentionally lists out all the horizontal commandments and none of the vertical. And the man confidently replies, “Teacher, is that all you have? Ten commandments? Nail it! I have kept it from my youth. Anything else?” And this time the man doesn’t call Jesus a good teacher anymore. He drops the “good.” You have to love him. He is a quick learner. He is like, “I tried the good before, I am not repeating the same mistake.” And I want to pause and give applause to this young man. He did what I could not. Do you know what that is? He honours his father and mother since his youth. If he is alive today, I want to ask him, “How? What is your secret? Tell me.” And he is not lying when he says that he has kept all the commandments from his youth. I believe him. Because apostle Paul also said the same. Paul said that as to righteousness under the law, he was blameless. So, it is possible to be blameless before the law externally. It is doable. Of course, this man probably did not hear Jesus’ sermon on the mount where Jesus upped the standard. Jesus’s standard is to honour father and mother not only externally but also internally. This man succeeds at one. We fail at both. Let’s be honest. How many of you have ever acted dishonourably toward your parents? Raise your hand. Keep it up. How many of you ever had bad thoughts toward your parents? Raise your other hand. If both your hands are not raised, you are breaking the commandment “you shall not lie.” All of us get an F in both external and internal obedience. But this young man managed to obey the horizontal laws externally. He is a very good person.
Before we continue, let me ask a question. If you were to die tonight and you were to stand before God and he were to say to you, “Why should I let you enter my kingdom?”, what would you say? Now, I know my church. You are smart. You know the right answer. You would say, “Let me in for the sake of your son Jesus Christ. I am covered by the blood of the perfect lamb of God. Nothing in my hand I bring. Simply to the cross I cling. #GospelPeople.” But I am afraid many Christians would not say that. Many Christians would say something along these lines: “I have tried to be a good person. I am not a criminal. I go to church almost every Sunday. I read my Bible most of the time. I pray before I eat and sleep. I don’t cheat on my tax return. I have never killed anyone. And I give my tithe to the church.” In other words, they rely on their resumes to enter the kingdom of God. Have you heard these answers before? I heard these kinds of answers a lot. And if that is your answer, you are about to be shocked. Because Jesus is about to show the man with the perfect resume that his resume cannot get him to enter the kingdom of God.
The missing piece
Mark 10:21-22 – 21 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.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Mark writes that Jesus looks at this young man and he loves him. This is the only time in Mark where he notes that Jesus loves someone. Pay attention. Jesus is about to say something extremely hard to this young man. But he will do so not because he wants to make him miserable but because he loves him. He wants what is best for him. This young man genuinely believes that he can earn his way to enter God’s kingdom. He is not a hypocrite. But he is very wrong. He thinks he can obey God’s commandment. He thinks his resume is good enough for God. But Jesus is about to show him that he is gravely mistaken. Jesus says 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.” Boom. Jesus drops the bomb. Note, what Jesus is not saying. Jesus is not saying that we can enter God’s kingdom by selling all our possessions and giving them to the poor. Jesus is not advocating a poverty gospel. But what Jesus does is he addressing the heart of this young man.
Let me explain what happens. With this statement, Jesus destroys two wrong assumptions that people have about Christianity. The two wrong assumptions about Christianity: Christianity is something we can do, and Christianity is something we add to our life. Let me show you. The rich man comes to Jesus with the question, “What must I do?” He sees Christianity as something that he can do and something he needs to add to what he already has. Jesus lists out all the horizontal commandments and the man confidently replies that he nails it already. So, Jesus gives him another test. “Okay, since you are that great, I just have one more test. Sell all you have and follow me.” Do you know what Jesus is doing? Jesus is saying, “Great job in obeying the 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 5th commandments. Just do this one thing and you will be perfect. Obey the 1st commandment. You shall have no other god before me. Because that is what is keeping you from eternal life. I know it’s going to hurt you, but I want you to see the monster inside of you. I want you to know what’s killing you. It’s your other god. It’s your riches. So, get rid of your false god and follow me, the one true God.”
And this is not something unique to this young man. This is what Jesus does consistently in his ministry. Remember the woman at the well? Jesus says to her, “I have water that if you drink it, you will never be thirsty again. It’s the water of life.” The woman says, “That sounds awesome. Can you give me that water?” Jesus replies, “Sure. Bring me your husband.” “But I don’t have a husband.” “Yeah, I know. You have had five husbands and the man you are living with now is not your husband.” What is Jesus doing? Jesus is pointing out to the woman that romance is her god. The love of men is her idol. And what Jesus says to her is that he wants the most important thing in her life. So, the point is not just money or romance but anything in life that is more precious than God. And Jesus is a skilful surgeon. He knows what tumour is in this young man’s heart and he is exposing him to it. Jesus is showing him that he loves money more than God. Money is his identity. Money is his security. Money is his god. This man assumes that he can have both money and Jesus as his god. He sees Christianity as something that he can add to what he already has. And Jesus is destroying that assumption. Get this. Christianity is not an additional thing we do in life. Christianity is more like an explosion that destroys everything we have to make something new. Christianity is not a hobby but a revolution. It is not something that we do on Sunday. Jesus is not another app we install in our lives. Jesus is a brand-new operating System from which our lives operate. And to enter God’s kingdom, we must let go of what we hold tight in our fists and take hold of Jesus as our treasure.
In other words, don’t get trapped in a monkey trap. If you don’t know what’s a monkey trap, it is a cage containing a banana with a hole large enough for a monkey’s hand to fit in, but not large enough for a monkey’s fist that is holding the banana to come out. For the monkey to get free from the trap, the monkey must release the banana that it holds tight in its fist. Jesus is telling this rich young ruler to let go of his riches and take hold of Jesus as his treasure. Do you see what Jesus does? Rather than telling him to do something, Jesus tells him to get rid of something. Jesus points out to him the one area in his life where he refused God to be God. And as long as money still has his heart, he will not enter the kingdom of God. What Jesus tells him is to destroy the idol in his life and follow Jesus. Then and only then will he enter God’s kingdom. So, Jesus is asking the man, “Will you trade everything you have for the one thing you lack? I want you to imagine life without money. I want you to imagine life with no trust funds, no house on the beach, no holiday to Europe, no fancy car, and all you have is me. Can you do that?”
And then comes one of the saddest verses in the whole Bible. Mark 10:22 – Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. The word “disheartened” does not fully communicate the weight of what’s happening. It comes from a Greek word that means downcast, devastated, shocked. So, this young man is utterly devastated to his core. Why? Because money is not just money. Money is his identity. To lose his wealth is to lose his identity. To lose his wealth is to lose his self. That is why the young man chooses his wealth over Jesus. The man is ready to do whatever it takes. Whatever Jesus commanded him to do, he is ready. Except, that one thing. Except, for his wealth. “Jesus, you can ask me for anything but don’t touch my wealth.” And Jesus says, “Give me your wealth.” And the man fails miserably. The answer he has been seeking is standing in front of him. But he walks away sorrowful from Jesus. This man sees Jesus as his boss, his example, and his helper. But he does not see Jesus as his saviour. And this is the last time we heard of him in the gospel. We do not know what happen to him next. I like to think that he eventually comes to realize that Jesus is the true treasure that he needs. But we don’t know that. All we know is that he is not ready to give up his one thing for Jesus and he walks away.
Do you see the irony in this story? Children who possess nothing receive the kingdom of God. But the man who possesses everything misses the kingdom of God. It teaches us an important lesson. The kingdom of God belongs not to those who are strong but to those who are weak. The kingdom of God is not for those who are capable and good but for those who are helpless and needy. And to enter God’s kingdom, we must come on God’s terms and not our terms. We must be willing to surrender everything for the sake of Jesus. The problem is there are many Christians who are ready to give up everything for Jesus’ sake except that one thing. And this is what Jesus is saying to us. “What give you delight in life? What drive you in the morning when you wake up? What is in your mind all the time? What is your treasure? What is your dream? What is your one thing? Give it to me.” Let’s move on with the story.
Mark 10:23-27 – 23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
Seeing what happened to the rich young man, Jesus turns to his disciples and teach them a lesson. He says, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples are surprised at Jesus’ words. And then Jesus repeats how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God. He repeats it twice in a very short moment. Why? Because the disciples see wealth as a sign of God’s blessing. They work with the mindset, “If you are good, God will bless you with riches. Therefore, a rich person is blessed and favoured by God.” And they have a good reason why they think that way about wealth. When we read the Old Testament, God’s blessing is often equated with wealth. But now Jesus is introducing them to a brand-new concept of viewing wealth. In the eyes of Jesus, this rich young man’s wealth is not a blessing from God but a barrier to God. What hinders this man from entering God’s kingdom is his riches.
Now, I want to pause here for a bit. We know what comes next and because of it we sometimes ignore the weight of what Jesus is saying here. Jesus clearly says that it is difficult for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. It is crystal clear. And if we are not careful, we quickly assume that Jesus is not speaking to us. But I am convinced that Jesus’ word is directed to us. This message is for us. More than any other sin, the church of the 21st Century has tolerated the love of money. This is why Instagram accounts like @pastorinstyle and @preachersnsneakers gain so much popularity. I kind of wish they would post my picture on their accounts. Free marketing. But apparently, they don’t think I have enough style to be newsworthy. And it’s not for lack of trying. Today, many preachers preach the kind of sermons that make people use God to have more riches. They ignore Jesus’ warning that it is difficult for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God. There is a reason why Jesus talks about money more than he talks about any other issue. Not because Jesus loves money but because he understands the power of money. Money is incredibly good, but it is incredibly dangerous at the same time. Money has the power to radically change a person.
We know this. We know people who are nice and kind when they don’t have a lot and suddenly turn into a monster when they become rich. There is something about money that makes us feel self-sufficient. Isn’t that true? When we have lots of money in the bank, we feel secure. A fat bank account makes us feel like we are ready for everything that will happen in the future. But it only takes a single phone call to prove us wrong. And money also makes us feel powerful. When we are good at making money, we start to think that we are good at everything. We might not know anything about politics or the church, but we feel like we have something to say because of our fat bank account. This is the problem with the rich young ruler. He wants to buy his way into eternal life with his bank account. But that is not how you enter God’s kingdom. Money has a spiritual power to blind us to the kingdom of God. We think that wealth is an advantage. Jesus says that wealth is a handicap. Wealth has the power to prevent us to come to Jesus like helpless children. But he does not stop there.
Mark 10:25 – It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. So now, Jesus is not only saying that it is difficult for the wealthy to enter the kingdom of God. If it is difficult, then it is still possible. But he does not stop here. Jesus then gives a humorous illustration to make his point. Camel is the biggest animal in that part of the world. They don’t have an elephant. And the eye of a needle is the smallest object there is. Now if my salary is in the same bracket as pastors in @pastorinstyle I could afford to get an actual camel for this sermon illustration. That would be awesome. But unfortunately, I don’t. I can only afford a needle. So, the next largest living thing we have to a camel in this church is Tim. So, imagine Tim trying to get through the eye of a needle. What happens? It’s not only difficult, but it is impossible. That’s Jesus’ point. It is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. In fact, it is impossible for anyone to enter the kingdom of God. And the disciples get the point. That’s why they ask Jesus, “Well, if that’s true, then who can be saved? If a great man like the rich young ruler has no chance, then who has the chance? Who can enter the kingdom of God?” And this is the question that runs through the entire Bible.
The prophet Jeremiah asks, “Can a leopard change its spots?” In other words, can a leopard just decide, “I’m not going to be a spotty leopard anymore; When I wake up tomorrow morning, I am going to have stripes and be a zebra?” Is that possible? It’s like me wanting to be an African American preacher. If you do not know, I have a special crush on the way African American pastors preach. I love how they can yell and scream in melody. I want to be able to preach like them. So, can I just decide, “You know what? I am not going to be an Asian anymore. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I am going to be an African American.” Will that work? I can have an afro or shave my head and speak like them. But it doesn’t make me an African American. It makes me a weird Asian with an identity crisis. So, here is the question. Can a sinful person who loves money, can a sinful person who loves other things besides God, all of a sudden wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I am going to give up my idol and become a follower of Jesus today. I am going to walk down the aisle during the altar call, pray the sinner’s prayer and I’ll become a good person. And I will enter the kingdom of God”? Can they? No. It is impossible. Walking down the aisle and praying the sinner’s prayer cannot save anyone. But I am so glad that Jesus does not stop there.
Mark 10:27 – Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” This is the greatest news in the universe. What is impossible with man is possible with God. Notice what Jesus says. First, Jesus affirms the impossibility of people to enter God’s kingdom by their own strength. No one can save themselves. This is why Jesus has to point out to the rich young man his problem. Jesus loves him enough to tell him that there is nothing he can do to inherit eternal life. Jesus is showing his disciples that there is nothing they can do to enter the kingdom of God. They can only enter God’s kingdom by grace alone. But to see their need for grace, they must know and feel their own inadequacy first. It is only when they see that they can’t that they begin to look to God who can. The second thing Jesus says is that all things are possible with God. God is the God of possible. And this is the main reason why Jesus came into the world.
Think about it. There are two rich young rulers in the story. One fails the test and walks away from God’s demand for righteousness. The other obeys God’s demand for righteousness to the point of death. Jesus is the true rich young ruler. Jesus ministered as a young man. He died between the age of 30 to 33. Jesus is the richest man in the world. He owns the universe. And he is the king of the kingdom of God. He rules the world. But he left all his glory to pursue us. Jesus lived in poverty for many years. And he not only left all his wealth, but he also gave his life for us. All of us deserved wrath and eternal separation from God because of our sins but Jesus’s blood was spilled so that we may receive full forgiveness for our sins. It is impossible for us to enter God’s kingdom on our own. But God made the impossible possible by doing the work of salvation on our behalf. All it takes to make the impossible possible is for us to put our faith in Jesus. That’s it. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has done what is impossible for us so that we can enter God’s kingdom by trusting him. Do you see that? Do you see Jesus loving us so much that he gives away the most incredible wealth anyone has ever given up, so that we can have the only wealth that lasts forever, God himself?
Mark 10:28-31 – 28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
If the rich young rules fail his test, Peter and the disciples have left everything to follow Jesus. So, what about them? And Jesus tells the disciples that they will be rewarded not only in the age to come but also in this time. Jesus says, “I will reward you. Whatever you lose for my sake and the gospel, you will receive a hundredfold now in this time and in the age to come. One house door might be closed to you, but 100 other house doors are open for you. You might lose one brother or sister in the flesh, but you gained 1000 other brothers and sisters in Christ.” But Jesus also says that they will experience persecution. Persecution is part of the package of following Jesus. There will be loss, struggle, hardship, and pain. But at the end of the day, they will gain so much more than what they are giving up. In other words, Jesus is telling us that following Jesus is worth 100 times more than whatever we lost for his sake and the gospel.
And I love verse 31. Mark 10:31 – But many who are first will be last, and the last first. This is the irony of the kingdom of God. Those who are helpless and needy like a child receive the kingdom of God. Those who have a perfect resume like the rich young ruler miss the kingdom of God. Those who have nothing will have everything. Those who have everything will have nothing. The poor, weak and undesirable will be first. The rich, powerful, and beautiful will be last. It is only those who receive the kingdom of God like a child who will enter it.
So here are some questions for you and I’m done. Have you entered the kingdom of God? Have you come to Jesus like a child? Have you surrendered your one thing? Do you still rely on your resume to enter God’s kingdom? Or can you say from your heart and confess with your mouth, “Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to the cross of Christ I cling”? Let’s pray.
- Can you think of some examples of how we use our resumes in our relationship with God?
- Look at the rich young ruler. What attributes of his stand out for you?
- The rich young man is ready to do whatever it takes, except for that one thing. What is the one thing in your life that you find it hard to give to God? Why?
- According to you, what are some dangers of money? List out as many as you can think of.
- “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” What does this verse mean in its context?
- Explain the contrast between the two rich young rules in this story. How does this point to the gospel?