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Sunday School Answers

March 9, 2010

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?"

 

"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments."

"Which ones?" the man inquired.

Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'"

"All these I have kept," the young man said. "What do I still lack?"

Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.

 

 Matthew 19:16-22

 Well there it is. The Sunday school answer. Do you see it? It is in verses 17 and 18. The rich young man comes to Jesus and asks that deep probing theological question. You know the kind we ask when we aren’t really searching for an honest response. We just want the answer that is comfortable and we have heard all of our lives.

 

He probes further and Jesus responds again with a Sunday school answer. They have been to “synagogue school”. They have been taught how to respond to these sorts of issues. What’s more they have been taught how to live by them. Now just a bit egotistical the young man responds that indeed he has kept all of these. You see that is the problem with Sunday school answers. They are easy. They are rhetorical. They are expected. They have been drilled into us. We even live by them. But what do they really affect besides perhaps some outward behaviors? They leave a part of us empty. They did with the rich young man as well. He knew he lacked something.

 

So he risks all and asks Jesus to name that which he lacks. And here comes the REAL answer. But this answer requires sacrifice. This answer requires commitment. This answer requires submission. This answer requires giving up our very self. That is why the question is a risk. You probably won’t like the answer. Don’t ask the real questions if you don’t want the real answers.

 

If you don’t want to know what God desires to do for those neglected, forgotten, ignored or avoided, then don’t ask. You probably won’t like the answer. It won’t be an easy scratch if off your list Sunday school answer. It will be a sacrificial, committed, submissive, uncomfortable kind of answer.

 

Go back to the original question of the rich young man. When he finally probes deep enough and gets the real answer he walks away from it. He was walking away from eternal life.

 

Question: What are you asking today?

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