The Rich Young Man

The Rich Young Man: Luke 18:34

The young ruler asks, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  If each of us would stand before Christ, what question might one ask?

When I was a boy, preparing for confirmation in the Methodist church, a question started living in me: the question of Judas. If the cross, for us, was an absolute necessity for our healing and if someone had to hand Christ over to his enemies for that to happen, why would the one who peformed this necessary deed, Judas, be eternally damned?  Dr. Mason, my wonderful pastor, to whom I am forever grateful for his honesty, responded to my question, “I can’t answer that question. I do not know.” His honesty let it live in me for years.

The young man asked his Christ-question and received a response, a response he, very likely, did not want to hear. A response he had to take in and take away from that encounter and live with, wrestle with, work with, in the depths of his own saddened, shaken soul.

Christ responds and then leaves the young man free. He does not comfort or try to convince. He leaves him alone and free-to actually come to himself, to come to his own answer, to come to his own knowledge, his knowing of his answer to his question.

Whatever our questions, our Christ-questions that may come to us, may rise up in us, in our lives and destinies-if we truly ask them, if we truly turn to Christ and ask them, it may be the response is, “Live with those questions.” Maybe for years.

One thing we can trust, we can come to know: Christ will not answer that question for us. He will guide us in freedom to come to know the answer for ourselves, out of ourselves. Maybe that is not what many would prefer. Maybe we want to be told-what to believe, how to think, what to do. If so, Christ will guide us in freedom to come to know out of ourselves, to know that is not who He is and that is not who we truly are. We, as He, are to become the free spiritual beings we are divinely intended to become.

That is the grace and truth of our life in Christ and Christ’s Life in us. Christ guides in freedom to our coming to know, out of our own activity, the truth that sets free. That is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

by Richard Dancey


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