Mark 10:17-22 (Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19)
Rev. Gary V. Gehlbach, Assistant Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church, Sussex, WI

Jesus Gives You Eternal Life

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

Grace and peace to you from our God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Today’s Gospel occurred shortly before our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

    This young man had certainly heard of Jesus; but had he truly heard what Jesus had to say. His question reveals what he thought and believed about eternal life – Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

 

Mark 10:17-22 (Amos 5:6-7, 10-15; Hebrews 3:12-19)
Rev. Gary V. Gehlbach, Assistant Pastor, Peace Lutheran Church, Sussex, WI

Jesus Gives You Eternal Life

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

Grace and peace to you from our God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Today’s Gospel occurred shortly before our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

    This young man had certainly heard of Jesus; but had he truly heard what Jesus had to say. His question reveals what he thought and believed about eternal life – Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

    By calling Jesus, Good Teacher, this young man confessed that Jesus came from God and, in truth, identifies Jesus is God. This is confirmed when our Lord says, No one is good except God alone. This rich, young man had certainly heard of the miracles and teachings of Jesus and recognized that Christ’s Word and Work could only come from God alone.

    The second part of his question reveals that he did not understand Christ’s Word and Work – What must I do to inherit eternal life? His question reveals that he was clinging to his own works as the means of his salvation. Even though he believed that eternal life was an inheritance, he believed that he must do something to secure the inheritance of eternal life.

    This young man’s question reveals a lot about you and me. In truth we are no different from him. The old, sinful Adam which clings to our flesh is misled by our own thoughts and desires. Like Adam and Eve who listened to Satan and ate of the forbidden fruit so that they could become like God, you and I also believe that to some degree or measure we contribute to our own salvation.

    We want to claim, in even the smallest measure, some credit for our salvation. We want to compare ourselves to others who are openly manifest and impenitent sinners and comfort ourselves with the knowledge that we are not that bad.

    In response to our pride, Christ reminds you, me, and the young man of the Ten Commandments – Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother. To which the young man responds, Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth. We might even add our own, “O Lord, I have tried really hard!”

    Like this young man, we have not believed what Jesus said, “If you are angry in your heart with your brother, you are a murderer. If you lust in your heart after someone who is not husband or wife, you are an adulterer. As it is written – None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. (Romans 3:10-12 ESV) None of us can claim for ourselves the inheritance of eternal life by our lives.

    For this young man to claim that he had kept all the commands from his youth means that he is deluded or lying. So Jesus presses the point closer to home, when in love, He says to the young man, You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. In this one sentence, Jesus gets to the heart of the matter – the heart of the young man and your heart. What does this young man love most? What do you love most?

    The First Commandment which is the great commandment says, you shall have no other gods, which means that “you should fear, love, and trust in God above things”. If this young man thinks that he has kept the whole law, he is living a lie. He could not handle giving up all that he had, because he had great possessions which he loved more than anything else. So also, you and I have many things which we cannot, will not or do not want to give up – money, health, reputation. If we have not kept the first commandment, surely we have not kept the rest as St. James writes, Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (James 2:10 ESV)

    If you or I think that we can stand before God on the basis of our own good works and righteousness, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. No one is saved by the works of the law (Romans 3).

    When the young man said, what must I do, Christ needed to bring him to repentance. He wanted the young man to turn from himself and turn to the events which would be unfolding over the coming days. Likewise, when you or I think that we can contribute in any way toward our salvation, Christ wants you to repent of your pride and arrogance and turn to the One who has secured your salvation for you – Jesus Christ your Lord.

    The young man was correct in calling eternal life an inheritance. An inheritance is something that is not earned or deserved. An inheritance is a gift bestowed on a person upon the death of the giver of that gift. For there to be an inheritance there has to be a death and there has to be something to give.

    In a few short days, that young man would find out what had to be done for his salvation – not what he must do, but what Christ would do. Although the young man failed to keep the law in all its points, there is One who has kept the law in all its points – Jesus Christ our Lord. He loved God His Father above all things. He loved His Father to the point of giving up his life for the sins of the world.

    For this young man and for you, there is only one death which secures your inheritance of eternal life – Jesus’ death on Calvary’s cross. God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Ro 5:8-10).

    Eternal life comes by believing in Jesus, but “I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him, but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith”. Your inheritance of eternal life has been given to you by the working of the Holy Spirit.

    It is what Christ had to do which secured your inheritance in the kingdom of God. The inheritance which gives eternal life is the righteousness of Christ bestowed on you in Christ’s blood. It is his blood which was offered on the cross. It is His blood which established peace between you and God. It is His blood which cleanses you of all unrighteousness.

    Although this rich, young man went away disheartened, Christ did not turn away from His own path to His cross. Although you and I have not kept the law perfectly, Christ continued on to His cross where He received the punishment for your sins. Where you and I fail, Christ succeeded. He is the One who is needed. His blood is the One thing needful for our salvation –

One thing's needful; Lord this treasure?Teach me highly to regard;?All else, though it first give pleasure,?Is a yoke that presses hard!?Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving,?No true, lasting happiness ever deriving.?This one thing is needful; all others are vain – I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain!

Nothing have I, Christ, to offer?You alone, my highest Good.?Nothing have I, Lord, to proffer?But Your crimson-colored blood.?Your death on the cross has death wholly defeated?And thereby my righteousness fully completed;?Salvation's white raiments I there did obtain,?And in them in glory with You I shall reign.

Therefore You alone, my Savior,?Shall be all in all to me;?Search my heart and my behavior,?Root out all hypocrisy.?Through all my life's pilgrimage, guard and uphold me,?In loving forgiveness, O Jesus, enfold me.
This one thing is needful, all others are vain;?I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain!
(TLH 366:1,6,7; LSB 536:1,4,5)
For your inheritance, there has been a death – the death of Jesus the Son of God. For your inheritance, a gift has been given – eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ which covers you in Christ’s righteousness.


Nothing have I, Christ, to offer?You alone, my highest Good.?Nothing have I, Lord, to proffer?But Your crimson-colored blood.?Your death on the cross has death wholly defeated?And thereby my righteousness fully completed;?Salvation's white raiments I there did obtain,?And in them in glory with You I shall reign.

Therefore You alone, my Savior,?Shall be all in all to me;?Search my heart and my behavior,?Root out all hypocrisy.?Through all my life's pilgrimage, guard and uphold me,?In loving forgiveness, O Jesus, enfold me.
This one thing is needful, all others are vain;?I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain!
(TLH 366:1,6,7; LSB 536:1,4,5)
For your inheritance, there has been a death – the death of Jesus the Son of God. For your inheritance, a gift has been given – eternal life through the blood of Jesus Christ which covers you in Christ’s righteousness.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

 

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a