Posts Tagged ‘Seeking Eternal Life’

Matthew 19:16 – WHAT MUST I DO TO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE THIS CHRISTMAS? – Part 1

Eternity

Eternity, Image created by Ross Cochrane with Paint.net

“Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16 NLT).

She sat up in her hospital bed, clearly agitated, waiting for me. She looked so alert and clearly wanted to talk. I was not to know that she would die the next day and how important it was for her to have her questions answered.

Almost before I had greeted June (not her real name) she blurted out “How can I know for certain that I will go to heaven? Have I done enough?” June had been attending my Devotional Talks at the Aged Care Centre and I am reminded of her all these years later as I read this interview with Jesus.

WHO IS HE?

Who was this someone who comes to Jesus? Matthew tells us that he is a young man (Matthew 19: 20). Luke tells us he is a ruler (Luke 18:18) and Mark says he comes running and kneeling (Mark 10:17). All three gospels tell us that he is rich. He is obviously a leader but with a lot of respect for Jesus as a teacher. Rich, young and powerful. Is he a ruler of the synagogue?

WHAT DOES HE WANT?

The rich young ruler thinks that there is one particularly good thing above every other good deed that he can do to earn eternal life. The fact that he comes to Jesus shows he is concerned about this and respects Jesus enough to get an answer to his dilemma.

His question, unlike the Pharisees (Matthew 19:3), seems to be genuine. He is not trying to trap Jesus.

Perhaps in listening to Jesus, he has become concerned that he would not go to heaven? Like June, he asks what he must do, not realizing the real truth about how we receive eternal life depends on God, not on us. But more about this later.

WHY DOES HE COME TO JESUS? 

He is obviously a good man willing to do good works to earn eternal life, but perhaps he heard Jesus speak about the children. Jesus said, “For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children” (Matthew 19:14 NLT). How could those who were like children be closer to eternal life than this rich young ruler of the synagogue, with all his good works, and status in society?

Surely eternal life doesn’t just come to people at birth. He knows that not everyone automatically has eternal life. Children are not capable of doing good works.

Notice that what the rich man calls “eternal life” is the same thing that Jesus’ calls the “kingdom” (Matthew 19:23) and the disciples call being “saved” (Matthew 19:25).

The more he listens to Jesus, the more he is shaken in his understanding of eternal life, so he comes to Jesus to set things straight.

WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM HIM?

So what can I learn from this young man as he comes to Jesus and from June as she sat in the hospital bed that day some years ago? What can they teach me that will make a difference in my life?

1.Seek the Eternal not the temporal. They are on the right track. This young man and June believe that there is more to life than what they are experiencing. (Matthew 19:16)

2.Come to Christ with respect and openness. After you come to the Lord Jesus Christ, ask Him how you can have eternal life, but be open enough receive what He says.

3.Recognise Christ for who He is. Jesus is the only One who is able to give you the answer to any questions about eternal life. Jesus says, “… No one can come to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6 NLT). Even if you come with presumptions that are wrong, these will be sorted out by the answers you receive from Christ.

Acts 17:27 (NLT) says that “His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward Him and find Him—though He is not far from any one of us.” 

June, like the rich young ruler, asked her questions and we talked about the answers only Jesus could provide.

Psalm 145:18 (NLT) says “The Lord is close to all who call on Him, yes, to all who call on Him in truth.”

Isaiah 55:6 (NLT)says, “Seek the Lord while you can find Him. Call on Him now while He is near.”

Isaiah 1:18 (NLT) says, “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”

The invitation of Matthew 19:16 and from the Bible as a whole is to come to Christ for the answers you need about eternal life during this Christmas season.

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? (See next post)

Pastor Ross