Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Christ the Way, or the Highway.

Matthew 19:23-30 (ESV)
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God." [25] When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" [26] But Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [27] Then Peter said in reply, "See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?" [28] Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. [30] But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Jesus reiterates what he hinted at when he says there is only one who is good. “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” But now the disciples are dismayed. They get the point. First they want to know who can be saved. Jesus all but answers everyone can be saved because this is what God wants. See it is on behalf of God’s desire for us to be saved that we are saved, it has nothing to do with what we want, but what God wants.
But that just makes it too easy! What about us who gave up everything to follow you? This is the downfall of Bonhoefer’s “The Cost of Discipleship”. This is the thing you hear so called Christians saying over and over again in many different ways. Sometimes it is masked as a complaint about how hard it is to be a good question. Sometimes it is pointing at others and how they don’t lead lives quite as sanctified as yours and still have the audacity to come to communion. Sometimes it is when people are upset at the idea of the death bed conversion, and can’t believe Jesus would save someone after they had that much fun, I mean sin. But really the people complaining of death bed conversions mean fun when they say sin. They have good company with the disciples here.
They are even more upset now. “But Lord? If anyone can be saved by the power of God, why the- H-E double Hockey sticks- did we give up everything to follow you?” Jesus answers specifically in the first instance. The 12 disciples sit on the thrones of God’s court. But no one loses out. What is required of us for his name’s sake here is returned a hundredfold in heaven, and in comparison to eternal life, it is nothing. But the fact still remains we don’t get into heaven by our own efforts. It’s Christ the way, or the highway, but the highway doesn’t get one to heaven.

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