Reflections: October 29, 2020
Thursday of the 20th Week after Trinity
By Gaven Mize
"Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?" And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." He said to him, "Which ones?" And Jesus said, "You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 19:16-19)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The beginning of our text in Matthew has always boggled my mind. I've never been sure why the rich young man would say that he had kept all of the commandments since his youth. On top of that, when Christ answers his question, "What good deed must I do to have eternal life?" Christ points His finger to the pulse of the most important thing to the rich young man: his riches. As the rich young man walks away, he doesn't realize that he has broken each of the commandments, including loving his neighbor as himself.
Christ's death and resurrection definitively answer the question of "doing" good deeds to enter heaven" once and for all. We cannot "do" enough "good deeds" in order to receive salvation. Salvation is through Christ alone. Of course the commandments from God are good and wise and we are to keep them. But we don't. The treasures we hold in our hearts are more valuable to us on earth than the treasure awaiting us in Jesus. So, what shall we do? Trust Jesus. He kept the commandments for you, living a perfect life in your place. Be subject to Him in all things. Love one another, and when you sin, repent, for in the Absolution is the kingdom of God. Rejoice in your Baptism, for through it you belong to God forever. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
To Jesus we for refuge flee, Who from the curse has set us free, And humbly worship at His throne, Saved by His grace through faith alone. ("The Law of God is Good and Wise" LSB 579, st.6)
-Rev. Gaven Mize is the pastor of Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hickory, NC.
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