Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pentecost 19 - Proper 23

Enlighten our minds, we pray, O God, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that , as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all truth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One god, now and forever.

Many people identify with the man of our text who could not wait to taste real life. He ran to Jesus. Kneeling, he begged Jesus to give him life. He wanted “eternal life”. He had life in the sense of its existence, but he wanted something more – he wanted a life of quality.

It was that kind of life that existed both in this world and in the next. Today, people are more interested in life lived today rather than in life after death. The tragedy of this story is that the young man turned down the opportunity to get real life – the price was simply too high.

How do you then get real life?

1. By earning it? It is not a reward for obeying the commands. This man sensed that keeping the commandments wasn’t enough for a spiritually satisfying life, He was right. Jesus told him to sell everything, literally, not figuratively, and follow Jesus. That made the young man sad, just as our losses during the recession have saddened and angered us. In painful loss we look for deliverance, for something more than a spiritualized religious lesson for our souls. We need a flesh and blood deliverer.

You know how the game is played. You simply follow the rules. This man was an expert at following the rules. He felt that he could receive real life by obeying the laws of God. He was only fooling himself. For there is only one person who has lived the perfect life. That was the man to whom this young man was speaking; the man Jesus Christ. He is the only person to follow the law of God perfectly.

2. So, you can’t earn it. In that case, then do the next best thing. By buying it? The young man had the wealth to buy it – if it could be bought. This man was rich man of many resources. If he had want it, he got it, and as we know in this world those who “have it” have it good! Or, so they think. For some the mark of success is never having to ask now much does it cost. And yet, there are some things which go beyond being able to pay for it.

3. By being taught? This man called Jesus a “good teacher.” Hoping Jesus would teach him how to get eternal life. Jesus refused to be his guru. “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answers. “No one is good but God alone.” (v.19) If this young man call Jesu “good” and only God is good, then did the young man accept the idea that Jesus was God? Only God is good. Human are not. The way to God is not to discover from another his secret for a good life in order to earn God’s favor. Rather it is to come in faith to God, who alone can bestow eternal life.

4. By receiving it as a gift. Eternal life is “inherited” as a gift from the One to whom we are fully committed. Jesus did not want anything standing in the way of this relationship. Instead of following Jesus this man choose to stay with his money and his wealth. He walked away sad and bitter for he was a wealthy man it was his money which he had given first priority in his life. What is you destiny? What is God’s desire of you? His desire is to give you life, liberty and peace, freedom, security, happiness and joy regardless of cost or price. He gives you all these things freely – without any cost without any price. It was all bought and paid for by His on Son’s blood.

Sadly by the world’s standards we are valued by our salary, position, our home, our education our status in the community our appreciation for culture. 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. We have nothing without Jesus Christ. To know Him is to know all. To have Him is to have all.

All Jesus asks of you is your life. He asks that you simply follow Him and no one else. By following Jesu you gain everything. It’s as simple as that. The one thing missing without this relationship is Jesus Christ. With this one thing, a relationship with Christ you have everything. Having everything but that one thing Jesus makes all the difference in the world. For what dies it profit a man to gain the whole world but to loose his own soul? Today trust Jesus. Follow Him! Obey Him! He is the one thing which makes everything else secondary.

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