Catacomb Resident Blog

It Begins Now

08 May 2022

Look at the whole context of the story of the Rich Young Ruler -- Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18. Think about it. This guy wasn't just wealthy, but had really impressed a lot of people who decided to make him a big shot in the synagogue at a rather young age. When he claimed to have obeyed the Covenant from his youth, he was hardly the only guy who thought so. Others were convinced he was a model of the Covenant, a true "son of the Covenant".

Now, perhaps you might allege that he was just the whelp of the rich and powerful, so there's nothing surprising about his situation. Maybe, but he was conscientious enough to know that whatever he had, it wasn't enough to raise the dead, as Jesus had raised Lazarus just shortly before this scene.

It's highly unlikely this fellow didn't know that the Sanhedrin had already committed themselves to having Jesus executed. And it's been some weeks prior that Jesus openly declared that He was the Son of God -- "I and the Father are One." Yet, somehow this fellow came under conviction that whatever it was this Rabbi Jesus had to say pointed the path to Eternity. Again, He had raised someone from the grave, after the man had been dead several days. So, before the Sanhedrin could act on their plans, he needed to know how to bridge the gap between this world and the one God had promised. How does one get from here to there?

The answer was not at all what he expected. I've heard preachers suggest that Jesus was just pulling his leg, in the sense that, if the man had agreed to sell all he had and follow Him, the Lord would have said that, since he gets the point, he can continue on with his life and go back to teach the same principle at the synagogue. Then why did the rest of this story include the Twelve affirming they had done just what Jesus told this young man?

By the way, those preachers who added that twist to the story were all pretty comfortable, and were preaching to a middle-class American audience. Somehow I sensed their exposition was tainted, and over the years I distanced myself from that kind of thing. I chose to live closer to poverty, not intentionally, but because as a consequence of more important choices. I realized it wouldn't matter what I sacrificed in this world to obey the divine calling.

Folks, we are on the threshold of an apocalypse. Whatever you think you hold now in terms of wealth and property may not be worth much once tribulation gets rolling. A lot of it will be confiscated. Do you consider yourself ready to face the trials? Are you going to feel as dejected as this wealthy young synagogue ruler who walked away from Jesus? I think you are going to find out sooner than you might expect. There is a trend of believers online frankly alarmed at the way things are going in America right now, but there is a far smaller group who are warning that there will be some really big surprises coming in just a matter of weeks, and there's nothing we can do to stop it.

There are people who sense this in their convictions. They can't offer concrete descriptions of the evil coming our way, just that the Lord is about to unleash some serious testing. He's shaking His body; who will stand and who will fall? I don't think Jesus was joking or merely testing the Rich Young Ruler. He was asking that fellow to get off the fence. Jesus was not a "Good Rabbi". He was the Messiah, or He was lying, and maybe a lunatic. Raising Lazarus should have been a clue.

The same invitation to the Messianic Kingdom still stands. Like the Needle Gate in the wall of Jerusalem in that day (still standing today), the entrance is narrow. You can just barely get through it, but you have to leave everything outside on your camels if you want to come inside. Jesus said only the Father could grant to His Elect the kind of passion to follow Him and leave it all behind.

Whatever "eternal life" means, it begins now.

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