Saying ‘Yes’ to Jesus (09-09-20)
Bible Reading: Luke 18:18-23
A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.'" "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.
Our grandchildren usually play very well together. Whether it’s with trains and lorries, building bricks or books, there are usually plenty of happy faces. But occasionally, when one of them wants to do something dangerous, or to have something that the other one has, happy faces turn to sad faces.
The rich young ruler in our reading was doing his best to live a good life, but he put his wealth above Jesus’ call to follow. He probably came to Jesus with a ‘happy face, but he said ‘No’ to Jesus and went away with a sad face. I think Jesus would have been sad too.
Jesus’ call to his disciples was to follow him. The ones we are more familiar with: Peter, Andrew, James, John and Matthew, unlike the rich young ruler, all did that. They heard the call of Jesus and said ‘Yes’. They left their businesses (fishing and tax collecting) and followed Jesus.
What is the underlying difference between those who say ’Yes’ to Jesus, and those who say ’No’? I think it is a question of faith. Throughout the Old Testament faith is seen as the combination of hearing what God says and responding in obedience.
In the gospels it was faith that enabled Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water when Jesus called him and, on a different occasion, it was a lack of faith that caused fear to overwhelm the disciples when they were in the boat on the lake during a storm.
Saying ‘Yes’ to Jesus involves a step of faith, but such a step is always rewarded by God. In Luke’s gospel four men take their crippled friend to Jesus and he is healed, as is a centurion's servant, a sick woman, a leper and a blind beggar. In the same way a young girl is raised from the dead and a prostitute is forgiven. All of these either came to Jesus or were brought to Jesus in faith, and none of them was disappointed. They said ‘Yes’ to Jesus and Jesus said ‘Yes’ to them.
Faith is about saying ’Yes’ to Jesus. ’Yes’ to following him, not just at the start of our Christian journey, but also at each step of the way, whether it is in the daily routine of life, whether it is with our careers or with our riches, or whether it is in the struggles and difficulties of life. Let us be people who continually say ‘Yes’ to Jesus, and who follow him in faith and obedience, and not those who say ‘No’ and go away sad.
Lord Jesus, thank you that you always want the best for me. Give me the faith to say ‘yes’ to you whenever you call me to follow you.