Text: Mark 10:17-22
As one congregant said – “reading a little Plato were you?” The presenting question was what do I do to inherit eternal life. In our culture today I don’t think that is even a question people ask. Eternal and the man’s address of Jesus as Good Teacher imply something that our culture denies. That concept of the good which is the intuitive way we are drawn to things that are true or that are beautiful and not in our culture’s highest goods of utility or aesthetic pleasingness, is what is denied. There are no eternal or good things in our culture. We have so much and settle for so little.
In a Lutheran law and gospel structure the man’s question is one of a second use of the law. It shows us our sin or a mirror to our soul. But it also implies a first use of the law – a simple description of the way things were made. We were made with eternity in mind. There are things that are beautiful – even though they may not be aesthetically pleasing or pass the culture poobah’s 5 star ratings. There are things that are true, even if you don’t believe them. In many ways talking to our culture is more like talking to the Sadducees than the Pharisees. The pharisees inhabited the same mental world as Jesus. When Jesus talked to the Sadducees he would say things like “you are badly mistaken.” (Mark 12:27) With Pharisees Jesus called them to see that they couldn’t carry the law. He was so visibly upset with them because they were close to the kingdom. He looked at them and loved them. With the Sadducees it was a call to something more fundamental, a call to examine presuppositions about the world.
Don’t settle for happiness – or the things that wealth can buy temporarily. Seek the Kingdom, the good things, the things eternal. Then you will have treasure in heaven.