Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
So, Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One; that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’”
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
“Good teacher, how can I get to heaven?” the young man asked.
As He often did, Jesus answered the question with a question.
“Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. …” That, was the answer. The Answer. I AM the Good One; The Way to eternal life. If you called Me Good because you know and believe that I AM the Son of God, then, you know Me, you know, the Truth, and you have found your way to heaven.
Unfortunately, many don’t see it as being so simple, they think the way to heaven is through religion, through good works, thus Jesus added: “You know the commandments: ‘Do not...Do not...Do not...’”
Jesus was asking, the young man, which way he believed. He gave the Truth, (I AM the way) and then, He gave the, technically, politically correct, religious answer, and let the man decide.
The young man had a choice. He could have answered like the Gentile, Syrophoenician, woman who begged Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter.
Jesus answered her with the technically, politically correct, religious answer, telling her that the Messiah had come for the Jews first. She didn’t argue the religious point, (that would’ve been a waste of time—arguing about religion always is). She simply played the relationship card… “Yes, Lord—” she said— “but even the puppies under the Master’s table eat from the children’s crumbs.” She understood that mercy triumphs over judgment (James2:13).
In God’s deck, relationship trumps religion, every. single. time.
The rich kid could’ve said, “Yes Lord, but no one is righteous, all have sinned, Your words hold the keys to eternal life.”
But his heart wasn’t there yet, he looked at it as one more acquisition, one more asset to add to his fat portfolio. So, instead, he slapped his resume on the desk. “I’ve done all that since my youth…”
But, down inside he knew, that even though he looked good on paper, even though, his sins were low and his good deeds were high…he still knew something was missing. A gnawing emptiness told him there had to be more. That is religion. That is works. That is why religious folks fight each other. (Notice I said religious folks—not Christians—there’s a huge difference. Not everyone who says, “I’m a Christian,” actually is one).
Religion will never fill the void meant for Relationship.
The rich young ruler walked away feeling sad and empty; the poor outcast mother with the wild child skipped away feeling like she just found out she was heir to a King.
Until we reach the reckless abandonment of the desperate Syrophoenician woman, until we’re ready to lay down our religion, our title, our very lives, and pick up our cross and follow Jesus through the steep, straight and narrow; we are just looking for some good thing, but missing God…we’re just going through the motions.
That’s why Jesus looked at the young man, loved him, knew him, gave him the answer, again; this time, with a little more detail. I see you have an unhealthy love for money, you trust in good deeds and riches. You’ll need to break those chains, and then, come and follow me. Don’t worry, I own the whole world— you won't miss a thing.
When we see relationship before religion, before dos and don’ts and works…we’ll drop our banners, our titles, our pretty walls and petty differences and just obey the simple gospel of love. Then, instead of just calling Jesus, “Lord, Lord” He actually will be.
And then, the only unanswered prayer Jesus ever prayed, will finally be answered.
“I do not pray for these (his disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word (me & you); that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21
iluvu & pray4u, everyday,