'Do not Judge who is Worthy and Unworthy': Clement's Warning not to Speculate about the Rich Young Man's Response (Mark 10.17-31)

Andrew D Clarke

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Abstract

Since the earliest commentators, Mark's account of the rich man has almost universally been read as evidently suggesting the character's ultimate rejection of Jesus' call. However, if this man is typical of Mark's portrayal of minor characters, then he may be regarded as a positive foil to the disciples; and his sadness in departure is nonetheless consistent with considered reflection on the severe cost of discipleship. Such a reading is also consistent with Mk 8—10, which challenges that true discipleship is indeed costly, and not to be entered upon lightly. Jesus subsequently gives a critical rejoinder to the precipitate self-congratulation of the disciples—`many who are first will be last, and the last will be first'. Mark's silence about whether or not the rich man did, after due reflection, accept Jesus' invitation encourages the reader to focus rather on the cost of following Jesus, than speculating about what has been left unstated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-468
Number of pages22
JournalJournal for the Study of the New Testament
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2009

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Keywords

  • discipleship
  • Mark 10.17-31
  • rich man
  • clement

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