Happy New Year (biblically speaking), so I wish blessings and prosperity upon you this new year, yet as I wish for us prosperity, I am faced with a dichotomy in the scriptures. Do we really know how to inherit eternal life, as Yeshua taught it?
Shanah Tovah (Happy New Year)! I come to you on this joyous occasion, wishing you all a blessed and prosperous Biblical new year.
As it says in 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” I can attest to the fact that my very soul is prospering and is rejoicing quite profoundly since I have chosen to walk the path of righteousness in Torah. Yet, as I wish for us prosperity, I am faced with a dichotomy in the scriptures.
There is a story in three of the gospels in which Yeshua extends an invitation to a young man to follow him. Wow! What an honor to be asked by the very son of YHVH to be His disciple.
The dilemma I have is the fact that this young man was very prosperous and was asked by Yeshua to leave all and follow Him. Once again, I have found a hidden truth that was before my eyes all the time, and was just now revealed. I cannot tell you the countless times I have heard sermons preached on these passages and never comprehended exactly what was taking place.
Come with me to Luke 18. Before the story that I am about to illustrate, there is an instruction given by Yeshua in verse 16, “…Yeshua called them unto Him, and said, ‘suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for as such is the kingdom of Yah.’” (v17), “Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of Yah as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” So, I ask of you, as Yeshua did, to try to see this story through the eyes of a child.
We speak of the rich young ruler as he called out to Yeshua and said, “Good master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” In verse 20, Yeshua asked him something that never seemed to perplex me before, because I had yet to be enlightened by the truth hidden in this story. He said, “Thou knowest the commandments. Do not commit adultery. Do not kill. Do not steal. Do not bear false witness. Honor thy father and thy mother.” And, the young man said that he had kept all of these things from his youth. Then Yeshua told him, “You lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven, and come follow me.”
Have you ever stopped to notice the profound answer to the rich young ruler’s question on how to inherit eternal life? Yeshua started His answer with almost a supposition that he should be obeying the commands. When Yeshua realized that he was following the commands, He invited him to sell all and become His disciple.
Wait a minute. He needed to do something to inherit eternal life (namely, follow the commands)? This is completely foreign to the way I’ve been taught all these years. Let’s look at another account of this same story in Mark 10:17-21.
In this account, we see the rich young ruler came running and kneeling before Yeshua, calling Him good master. Again, the question is asked, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” As before, Yeshua references the commandments. The young man responds just like the other account, “Master, all these I have observed in my youth.”
Then we see something different in verse 21 that is not written in the other accounts. “…Yeshua, beholding him, loved him and said unto him, one thing thou lackest.” And as before, He said to sell and give to the poor. It ends with Yeshua saying, “Follow me.” The fact is the rich young ruler asked how he might inherit eternal life, and is instructed by Yeshua to follow the commands. The young ruler reiterates that he has been following the commands since his youth. Amazingly, Yeshua sets his eyes on him and loves him for that very reason.
The account in Matthew is almost verbatim. Still, in verse 21 of Matthew 19, Yeshua makes a very peculiar statement after the rich young ruler confirmed that he has kept the commandments from his youth. Yeshua said to him, “If thou wilt be perfect.” What does that say about the rich young ruler? You see, Yeshua was affirming and even celebrating the young ruler’s adherence to the commandments of YHVH. And, there was one thing that was keeping him from being “perfect.”
As I endeavor to read this story through the eyes of a child, it’s very plain to see that the rich young ruler was affirmed by Yeshua in the keeping of the commandments. So much so, that there was only one thing that he lacked. What does that say about most of us? Since I have no riches to sell, if I keep the commands, am I therefore perfect? It’s a legitimate question; one that makes common sense if seen through the eyes of a child.
The rich young ruler kept the commands and Yeshua loved him for that. We might not all be young and we might not all be rich, but we don’t have to be young or rich to keep the commands and follow Yeshua.
In closing, it is plain to see Yeshua’s heart in dealing with this young man. He loved him when he saw the sincerity of his walk in Torah. Therefore, he dealt with him quite gently.
Let me take you to one last passage in Luke chapter 10. Yeshua deals with a lawyer in a very different way even though he asked the exact same question as the rich young ruler – (v 25) the lawyer asked what shall he do to inherit eternal life. Yeshua answers a question with a question (v 26), “What is written in the law? How do you read it?”
The lawyer responds in verse 27, “thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy strength and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thy self.”
Lastly, Yeshua says in verse 28, “thou hast answered right: this DO and thou shalt live.” Do you understand the profundity of that exchange? This is so plain that a child can understand this. The lawyer answered Yeshua’s question about what is written in the law correctly! Then, Yeshua tells him to do what is written in the law and live! Listen!
Fact: Both the rich young ruler and the lawyer asked the same exact question.
Fact: Yeshua began his answer with citing the commands as the way to receive eternal life!
Fact: Yeshua did not cite faith, grace, mercy, love or any other new-world- church-order concept to receive life eternal.
Fact: The only answer given to the lawyer was, “Do this (what is written in the Law) and LIVE!”
Fact: The rich young ruler was asked to be a disciple once it was established that he was a keeper of the commands.
Even more profound is this; though the motives were different for asking the question of eternal life, the answer was the same! As before, I must reiterate that these are New Testament passages. The commands are everywhere.
Let me break it down further using the young ruler as an example. Question: How do I inherit eternal life? Answer: 1. Continue keeping the commands 2. Sell all and give. 3. Follow Yeshua.
Well, most of us don’t have much to sell, so I am left with this: keep the commands and follow Yeshua!
In this New Year, if thou wouldst be perfect, follow Torah and live. How do you do this? By honoring the law of YHVH and following His son, Yeshua. I ask you, on Yeshua’s behalf, “come, follow me.”