Monday after Oculi
Scripture: St. Luke 18:15-30 (NKJV)
15 Then they also brought infants to Him that He might touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to Him and said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. 17 Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.'” 21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” 22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” 27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” 28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed You.” 29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
“Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?'” Luke 18:18
“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It’s a good question, mostly. How many people bee-bop through this life, giving nary a care to eternal matters? At least this man cares.
Two phrases are worth noticing. “Good Teacher,” and “what shall I do?” They point to two possible answers: one Law, the other Gospel. Jesus invites the Gospel answer: “Why do you call me good?,” for none is good but God. As if to say, “You called me good! So are you calling me God? Is this faith I’m hearing here?” Alas, no. He was just being polite.
That leaves the Law answer: Keep all the Commandments. He claims to have done this…which is laughable, but he has himself convinced. Jesus would lead him to see the futility of relying on his own perfection: “Go, sell all.” The Law crushes him, and he leaves.
The Law does that to us too. But hear the Gospel! This Jesus, Who is good, Who is God, has died on the cross for your sins. Rely for your salvation not on your own perfection, but upon His, and upon His perfect sacrifice for your sins.
“Oh Lord, grant me to long for the life of the world to come, and grant me to trust not in my own works or merits, but in Christ alone, to receive this. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”