Wednesday, August 11, 2010

eternal life

Someone was looking for "Jesus gives eternal life." He does.

The passage that totally changed my understanding of eternal life (and I will spend the rest of my breathing years pondering it) is John 17:1-4. Read it in context. I think the passage following (and I'd not seen it this way before today...I think the passage following is probably a really good picture of what it means to be a disciple and to disciple others. That's what children's ministers do, right? Disciple others?

We have the story of the rich young man in Matthew 19*. You can revisit the places where Jesus' disciples specifically asked Him about eternal life like Luke 10**. Here are references from the gospels. John's gospel is particularly full of references to explore. Which of these passages are part of stories? Then there's Paul's letters even though he wasn't actually walking with Jesus like John was...

*This is in the NAS so you get the cross references if you want to compare the story details in the different gospels. You can switch from NIV to NAS on any of these studies for cross references. You can also look at the stories in the NIRV.

** Remember to read all of these passages in context...Put yourself there listening to all that God did when Jesus sent these 70 people out in His name. Notice the reference to "infants". Notice Jesus full of blessing.

Then it says, a lawyer stood up & asked him a question to "test" Him. Who was this guy? Why was he there? Was he one of the 70? Had he just returned with the others? Imagine going off on an amazingly successful evangelism/deliverance project like the one Luke describes and coming back to the debrief and the celebration (Jesus seems ecstatic, too, by the way) and someone stands up saying. . .

"This was amazing, it was, but what do I do to inherit eternal life?"

Notice that Jesus responds to the lawyer's question with a question. Notice where he sends the man. (He sends this lawyer back to God's law) Notice how the man even answers Jesus' question correctly . . . "But..." the scriptures say the man tries to justify himself and Jesus tells them a story...

What if the man had just left it at that and hadn't tried to "justify himself"? What if he had just reveled in the success and he hadn't asked the question? What do all these passages show us about Jesus? About God? About His Holy Spirit? About us?

What were we talking about? Eternal life...What do these stories about Jesus, and the stories Jesus told, have to say about "eternal life?"

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