Apr 27 2014

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God Quotes: Rejecting Jesus

Rejecting Jesus

As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ ” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 NLT)

This story blows my mind. Here is a man who ran to Jesus, knelt down, and asked him about eternal life. In all appearances, this man's heart is ready. The man sees Jesus as a source of knowledge (a teacher) and as good. He is only partially knowledgeable about who he is approaching–Jesus, the Son of God, all-knowing and perfectly good. Regardless, he is kneeling and seemingly open to whatever Jesus had to say. Eternal life brimmed to the top of this man's heart. It seems like the perfect story of salvation. But the story twists, as it often does, because the outside of a person and the inside are not always aligned.

Jesus felt genuine love for this man. Jesus wasn't interested in putting the man off or testing him. Jesus loved him. And because of his love, Jesus answered the only way he could: Jesus exposed the rich man's heart. The man's heart worshipped his possessions. Possessions, stuff, things–they make a terrible god. Because the man worshipped stuff rather than God, his heart could never be aligned with God. God never shares worship with another. And, sadly for this man, another god can never satisfy the deepest longings of the heart. Eternity begins in our hearts long before we enter it. This man–even with all his possessions–longed for eternity.


Jesus gave the man the cure for what ailed his heart. He told him how to remove the little god from controlling his life. Then Jesus invited the man to follow him. Jesus asked. He didn't ask everyone. In some cases, Jesus told the person to go back to his village. But this man was invited. Instead of taking up the invitation, the rich man rejected Jesus. How tragic. Sad is the description of the man who walked away from Jesus.


Jesus, you ask too much

I doubt this is a story for everyone to sell everything and give it to the poor–although that may be the path Jesus asks for some. This is a story of Jesus knowing a man's heart even though the man himself didn't know it. The man thought Jesus asked for too much, that he went too far. We all play that game at times–even people who call themselves disciples.

We come to Jesus–running even–excited about him answering the deep questions of our soul. We kneel. We think we are ready. Jesus, whatever you want. I'm ready. Just tell me, and I'll do it. Then Jesus, who loves with genuine love, tells us about our little god. He tells us to reject that god and follow him instead. We walk away sad because Jesus, you ask too much. We can't imagine getting rid of the god of unforgiveness, bitterness, rage, pornography, a perfect life, a perfect job, a dream. Those gods are the biggest things in the world to us. So we turn away, sad, not experiencing the eternal life Jesus intends for us to experience–to experience life to the full today.


What is your little god?

What does Jesus say to you today? It seems our hearts can be filled with endless little gods. When I come to him, I want to be ready to reject each one and experience the eternal life he promises. Life to the full–it can only be found in one God.


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