Mark 1:17-31 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
17 As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’” 20 He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” 21 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money[a] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 22 When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
23 Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 They were greatly astounded and said to one another,[c] “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
28 Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news,[d] 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields, with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Jesus continually turns conventional wisdom on its head. We view the world through a lens of hierarchies. We affirm the trappings of power. We assume that wealth and privilege are marks of blessing. We look at a person of wealth or distinction and assume they must have done something right. At the same time, we often find ourselves looking at those on the bottom of the social hierarchy and assume that they have done something inappropriate. Why else would they be in that position. I confess that this is as true of me as it is of any other person. I don’t necessarily look at the rich with admiration for their virtue, but it is easy to look at the poor and marginalized and assume they have done something wrong. Perhaps they have, but is that the point? At least, when it comes to Jesus and his vision for society? Thus, Jesus turns things upside down, by placing first at the end of the line and those at the back get moved up to the front.