“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” – This question is asked by all of us at some point or another. Do Wednesday Nights count? How many Sundays can I miss in a year? How often do I need to volunteer for God to notice and let me into the Kingdom? If God notices how big of a jerk that guy is, he’ll understand why I don’t help him, right? We often end up asking what is required of us to make it in. When the man runs up to Jesus and asks this pressing question, he lets Jesus know that he has kept all of the commands since he was a boy. This guy is an exemplar of moral living. Jesus then tells him to go sell everything and give it to the poor and then to come follow him. Many in my generation look to this story as license to point a condemning finger to people in the church who have money. Ironically, their blogs are written on $1500 computers, while drinking a $5 latte, in a country that places you within the 1% of the top income in the world’s population. When we talk about riches and Kingdom living, we should be careful where fingers are pointed.
With that being said, I think the discussion of rich people and the Kingdom of God is missing the point of what Jesus is getting at. What we do with our money is an important discussion but I don’t think that’s the point of this passage. When the man walks away sad, the disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?!” Jesus’ response here is key, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
How does one gain eternal life? Through Jesus. That’s all. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. God’s love is perfect and perfectly displayed and embodied in and through Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. There is no way to earn your way. If there was a way, Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21).
Peter says that they have left everything to follow Jesus. What does it mean that they will receive a hundred times as much in this present age? What does this say about the church? How should we as a church function to where this statement is true? The age to come, they will receive eternal life. We focus a lot more on the age to come than we do on the “present age.” What does it mean that we become family to those who have left family? How does living this out in the “present age” shape how we view the “age to come”?
There are so many great stories to talk about in “The Story” this week. I chose this one because it positioned in the middle of a number of stories pointing to the Resurrection and it focuses on what is possible through the right means of power. When Jesus’s soul is troubled before going to the cross, his resolve is, “Father, glorify your name!” Jesus knows the power of the Resurrection and stares death in the face and allows the Father’s name to be glorified. When we know the power of the Resurrection, everything changes. When we know the power of the Resurrection, we are no longer concerned with power or position for ourselves. When we know the power of the Resurrection, we join with Jesus and say, “Father, glorify your name!”
Find the truth and allow the truth to set you free. When you find yourself in a mountaintop experience, don’t look for yourself to be glorified. All mountaintop experiences point to Jesus being glorified. There’s nothing you can do to make God love you more and there’s nothing you can do to make God love you less. All things are possible with God because his love is perfect for you.