Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Luke 18:19-20

Luke 18:19-20
And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?  Nothing is good except the one God.  You have known the commandments.  Do not commit adultery.  Do not kill.  Do not steal.  Do not lie.  Honor your father and mother.”

Thoughts for Today


First Thought:

Jesus’ response to the man is incredible.  Look at the first thing He says.  “Why do you call me good?”  Of course, we all know that this is Jesus.  He is the Son of God.  He is the sinless sacrifice sent to atone for our sins.  From that perspective, Jesus’ question seems utterly ridiculous.  After all, why wouldn’t we call Jesus good?  But I don’t personally believe what Jesus is doing here.  Remember what we said yesterday?  Here is a ruler that is completely focused on his own action, his own worth, and his own reward.  Jesus wants to take a position opposite the ruler.  The ruler is focused on how good he is; Jesus wants to show him a position where His own goodness isn’t even relevant.  It isn’t about Jesus not being good.  Jesus’ response is about showing the ruler that our own goodness isn’t really even a proper part of the conversation.

Are you surprised by Jesus here?  How often do you want to focus on your own righteousness?

Second Thought:

Next, Jesus puts the focus on the Father.  Only God is good.  It isn’t our righteousness that matters, it is His.  We don’t earn salvation.  We don’t deserve salvation.  We don’t look to God and say, “See how good of a follower we are?”  No.  We look to God and say, Have mercy upon me, a humble sinner” as we heard from the tax-collector in an earlier parable.

Is your life really about proclaiming how God is good?  How adept are you at putting the focus upon God where it belongs?

Third Thought:

As Jesus turns His attention back to the man, He plans to set up the ruler.  While each of us have difficulty keeping all of the commandments, the ones that Jesus picks are the ones that are easy to take pride in.  Who doesn’t take pride in the way that they honor their parents?  Who doesn’t take pride in their ability to not be an adulterer?  Who can’t say, “I didn’t kill anyone?”  Who doesn’t take pride in their ability to speak truth in difficult times?  Who doesn’t take pride in the fact that they have earned all that they have and haven’t had to steal?  But each of those are traps of our pride!  Who among humanity can truly say that we have always honored our parents?  Who can actually say that they don’t tell the occasional lie?  Who can truly say that they haven’t lusted after someone of the opposite sex and had inappropriate thoughts?  Who can’t say that they haven’t stolen something – or at the very least manipulated a circumstance to take advantage of another person’s generosity?  In bringing these commandments to the table, Jesus is offering the ruler a choice.  He can either be humble and confess his true humanity or he can be proud and proclaim his greatness.  We’ll look at his response tomorrow.  For today, we need to focus on facing our own choice.  We always have the choice between humble repentance and proud self-promotion.

What do you normally choose: humble repentance or self-proclamation?  Why?


Passage for Tomorrow: Luke 18:21-23
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