Wednesday, March 11, 2015


If "location" is the important word in the real estate business and if "butter" is the important word in cooking, then "context" is surely the important word when it comes to reading and understanding the Holy Word.  Certainly, something important is missed if we come to the story of the rich ruler and ignore its context. (Luke 18:18)  The way the gospel writer Luke tells it, the rich ruler was standing right there on the road with Jesus when He pointed to the children and said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs."

When this moment of teaching ended, the young ruler asked his question, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  HIs question could be paraphrased, "Teacher, if a child makes it, how about me?  The one thing the young ruler knew he could not do was to become a child again.  Like Nicodemus and his conversation with Jesus about the new birth, the rich ruler missed the point Jesus was making.  It is true enough that none of us can return to our childhood, but being stuck in adulthood does not exclude us from the Kingdom.  What Jesus is calling us to do is to remember that in our spiritual life we are the child who has a loving and caring Heavenly Father.  Even as a child is powerless, so are we.  Even as a child has nothing, so it is for us.  Even as a child has no rights, none do we possess.  Even as a child must depend upon another for life, so it is for us and our Father God.

Possessing the spirit that enables us to understand how it really is for us is the truth to which Jesus is pointing as He speaks to the rich ruler about the Kingdom of God.  As we live in our adult world, the gospel that calls us to discipleship is a Word that speaks to us about the necessity of voluntary abandonment of ourselves to God.  Only a child shows that kind of trust, but tothose who live with this radical trust belongs the Kingdom of God.

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