If you could ask Jesus one thing what would it be?
Imagine if Jesus showed up in your home this afternoon and said, “OK, I’m giving you one question.” What would you ask Him?
A young man in Mark 10 knew exactly what he wanted to ask. He came to Jesus looking for help. This young man held every standard imaginable. He set up boundaries and guidelines that he would not cross. But he came to Jesus looking for more. He knew something was missing he just didn’t know what. He did everything right. He was commended among his peers for being such a solid, sincere, saint. He was well known in his circles for his giving and genuineness. Despite his standards, schedule, and sabbath following strictness he knew something was missing. He knew that if he were to die, he did not have an assurance that he had done enough. He needed to know where eternal life came from and what he needed to do to secure it in his mind.
When he brought this question to Jesus, Jesus made an interesting response. “You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”
“Piece of cake,” he thought! “This eternal life thing might not be as bad as I was anticipating!” He responded, “Teacher, all these have I observed from my youth!”
Then Jesus, in a loving compassionate way, said to him, “You lack one thing.” Finally, he was getting answers to this missing element in his life. He was determined to do whatever it was. One thing was nothing in comparison to everything else he had been doing. Jesus continued, “Go your way, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. And come, take up the cross and follow Me.”
With this one statement, His dreams were shattered. His hopes had vanished. Eternal life was to come at a much greater cost than he had ever imagined. “He went away grieving. For he had many possessions.”
This young man was a good person, but not good enough for heaven.
What! Really? This guy was so religious, surely God would make an exception? Right? Wrong. This exception mentality is so prevalent today. As Christians, who believe there is only one way to heaven, we are considered narrow-minded and needing to change our ways.
Harvard Business Review posted an article proclaiming this same message but in the business world. “Changing our methods and minds is hard, but it’s important in an era where threats of disruption are always on the horizon. In popular culture, we might call this kind of cognitive flexibility, ‘open-mindedness.’ And with growing divisions in society, the survival of our businesses and communities may very well depend on our leaders having that flexibility (open-mindedness).
This reasoning is so prevalent today. Many still have an awareness of God so they have developed their concepts of God. Mankind has developed its own set of saving standards. Our society wants to see everyone in heaven (except those really bad Hitler types). But who determines the standard of bad? How bad do you have to be to be “really bad?”
Both Jews and moral Gentiles who think they are exempt from God’s judgment because they are relatively good and have not indulged in immoral excess are tragically mistaken. In Romans Paul takes us on a journey from the Road of Wrath to the Road of Religion (chapter 2). In all honesty, these Roads both lead to the same end. Yet, religious people do not worship the creation. They do not practice sexual immorality. They do not even come close to being like the crowd mentioned. But, just like this young man…they are sincere but sincerely wrong.
The overall gospel message is not that people have met their own standards but that they have not met God’s. You can excel on the road of religion your whole life and it will never intersect with the road of righteousness. There is absolutely nothing in this world you can do to earn your way to heaven. There is nothing!
How does all this relate to me personally? We all must believe and accept this truth. You have to think logically and come to the conclusion that what the Bible says must be true. If Jesus said there is no other way to have a relationship with God, to receive eternal life, except through Him, we have to accept that as a true statement.
There is no other way!