Whenever we tell someone of the love of God, which is Christ, how do we tell them to get there? In other words, what do we say to them?
Do we tell them to believe? Do we tell them to put their trust in Jesus?
I wonder, do we use the very words of Jesus? Or are these words too strong?
What words did Jesus use?
How about, “sell everything you own, give it to the poor, then come, follow me”(too many places to mention). Or, “In his joy he went and sold all he had” Matthew .
How about “unless one is born again, he cannot see the
In all of these places, and in all of these different ways, Jesus was saying something about loving God. The common thread that I find in all of these words of Christ is this; whatever we have or have known is of no use in the Kingdom.
The very words of Christ to Nicodemus in John 3 tell me succinctly, “Take everything you have ever known, and throw it away, become as a new born baby.” Literally, “start over”.
The words He said to the rich man are the same, especially when you consider the context of the story, in which the rich young man came to find out what “deed” he must do to earn eternal life. “All these I have kept since my youth”. I believe that is what the young man said to Jesus. And the words that Jesus said right after the young man’s response? Might as well have been, “throw it all away, give it to the poor, or whoever, for all I care, you, come follow me, as a new born without anything.”
Do you desire to know why the gospel sounds so good to the poor? Why the gospel sounds so good to the criminals, the prostitutes, and the generally ill-natured and ill-mannered? It is because all of their lives, they have hoped for a second chance, a way to start over, to erase everything, and begin anew.
Do you want to know why the gospel does not sound so good to those who are accomplished, well-known, and “have it all togethers”? Because to start over would erase all of their accomplishments, as if they had never happened. To start over would mean everything a scholar had ever learned was suspect, and he would be better off throwing it all away, and being a student back in school, the school of the Disciples of Christ. Enter Nicodemus, and enter his mass confusion, and overwhelming surprise at the words of Jesus.
Take away a “self-made” man’s wealth and position, and what does he have left? Do that to him, and you must also take away his wife, children, and friends, for he believes that because of the way he is, all these things were made by him as well. What is left?
The gospel is good news to the spirit, and bad news for the flesh.
But the poor, the criminals, the prostitutes and the helpless, the glory of the gospel is music. All of their lives they have been misfits, ridiculed and portrayed exactly as they are. They can bear no more shame, because they can be given no more. Reveal their “sins”, and for the most part, all of the world has already seen them. But reveal the sins of the accomplished, and now you have the evening news.
The gospel forces us see ourselves for what we really are, and then tells us to leap off the cliff, and trust God to catch us. The downtrodden can do this, the accomplished find it hard.
And so it is with everyday living in the
To ENTER the Kingdom, one needs merely have the faith of a child. But a child? What can a child do?
To LIVE well in the kingdom, one need merely have the faith of a child. But what can a child accomplish?