April 19, 2011 Leave a comment
Many people think of the young ruler as an idiot.
In many ways I find him very wise, but ultimately lacking perspective. I don’t know, I do very much understand why he would run away from Christ when asked to give up all he had, it is reminiscent of something of that inside of myself. Maybe I’m the only person that takes seriously what a fantastic claim that Jesus gives when he asks of us to give up everything we have, and follow Him. What a huge decision that is, to be asked to give up everything we trust in for something we cannot be totally sure of. It is hardly the things that could be decided in the moment’s thought of the altar call. That is somewhat undercutting what a great sacrifice this is, I have been thinking and mulling over this proposition for a very long time. Slowly and slowly, the caverns of my heart are opening up as the Holy Spirit comes and airs every room of my heart.
In some ways, the young ruler was the wisest of us all, such a huge decision cannot be made with such lightness. Externally, we may have the greatest ambition, but internally we know nothing of Jesus. To walk away in my eyes was a more righteous action than committing a part of our hearts. Anaias and Sapphira would have profited greater from not giving their share to the apostle than giving short of everything.
Reading from an outsider’s perspective of the calling of the disciples, it is simple to think it obvious to drop the nets to follow Jesus. A book is still somewhat a disconnection from reality, and it is easy to read of faith of other peoples within the Bible. Yet, when the rubber hits the road, when Christ demands of YOU, to give up everything that we hold dear, I find that an entirely different proposition more difficult than reading of other people who had done so before.
There is a disconnection I think we feel from the young ruler, that we are somehow better than him. This decision is without realising how much of a sacrifice, that is, without having experienced poverty in life. For one, I feel like him more often that not torn between what I can see and what I cannot understand.
The sermon at church today was of Simon Peter and his redemption through Christ in the last few verses of the Gospel of John:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.””(This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”” John 21:18-19 (English Standard Version)
What church history tells us, is that the death that Simon Peter suffered was one of cruxifiction. Origen said of his death, “Peter was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, as he himself had desired to suffer.” As one who would not consider himself worthy to die the same way as Jesus. There is an intense humility in that, that I do not possess at this time.
To be brought continually to that place where we realise we have nothing, we deserve nothing and we are nothing is a place of continual rejoicing for me. To some, it might be reprehensable but to know the insurmountable riches in Christ, and that perhaps that is something of worth. To reach that place in my heart, I need faith, more than I have now. To know that assurance of things hoped for and conviction of things not seen.
I am increasingly becoming sure that if there was just one righteous man on earth like Jesus, then the world would be changed. But in the meantime, we have billions of young rulers too scared to step outside of their comfort zone. I am a young ruler, tempered to what the world proclaims as success, chained to the desires of the heart. More than not, I am scared of what is hidden behind closed doors, than wanting people to see what I do when eyes are not closed.