Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to Inherit Eternal Life, Part 1

And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "Y OU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." (Luke 10:25-28 NASB)

We begin a new series today, this time on the topic of how to inherit eternal life. The opening salvo is given by a lawyer who wanted to test Jesus. To understand this passage, we need to understand to whom Jesus was speaking. The word translated as "lawyer" is nomikos and does not mean a person who helps with wills and lawsuits. This "lawyer" was a man who was an expert in Mosaic law. They had memorized the law and studied it to such a degree that they knew exactly what it said, every jot and tittle. Knowing the words of the law was not the same as knowing the heart of the law, as we shall soon see. 

I would like to believe that this lawyer, an expert in Jewish law, was there because He was truly interested in what Jesus had to say. Scripture tells us, however, that the reason this lawyer was asking Jesus a question had nothing to do with interest in eternal life. His sole reason for coming to Jesus was to trap Him. He was "putting Him to the test" in hopes that He could trick Jesus into saying something that would contradict the law (bringing him into direct conflict with the Jewish officials) or alienate the masses. 

He asked a question we all should ask. "What do we need to do in this life to have eternal life in the next?" The question was a good one. The motivation behind it was not. Perhaps the best way to start this series is by taking a look at our own motivation for approaching Jesus. Let's look not only at why we approach Jesus, but at why we are involved in the church at all. Are we simply interested in an intellectual exchange, a play with semantics? Are we interested in supporting our own agenda rather than exploring the ways and words of Jesus? Do we come to church simply for the social connections? Do we seek a kind of built-in family or community? Do we come seeking to know Jesus more intimately, serve Him more fully, follow Him more closely? 

Selah. Pause and consider.

For today, let's spend a few minutes considering our own motivation for coming to Christ, to the church. Are we, like the lawyer, there only to achieve our own purposes or do we come, humble and open, to our Savior? Let's be sure our motivation is one that pleases Christ and leads us toward that eternal life about which we will soon learn. 
The link to last night's post, Ryan's Rooster Adventure, is here:

If you are weary in waiting for the answer to your prayer, here's something that can help. The Waiting: When the Answer to Your Prayer is Delayed and Your Hope is Gone, is available here. Also available in Tupelo at Joyful Creations and Park Place Salon.