Isaiah 53, Luke 18:18-30, and Philippians 3
Isaiah 53:2 ESV
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
There is an irony found in the Gospel’s account of the Rich Young Ruler that we would miss without careful attention to the story. Yesterday we read about how the man who had everything on earth had nothing invested in eternity with Jesus. Today, we’re going to look at how Jesus, the man who from a human perspective had nothing, in turn had everything the Rich Young Ruler needed for salvation. And tomorrow we will look at the blessings that come with obeying Jesus’ call to follow Him. The first thing to think about today is the reality of Jesus being fully man, and from the perspective of what most people thought Him to be like.
Follow along: Mary (the mother of Jesus) obeyed God when she was told she would have a son. She surrendered to the will of God, but this came at a price. Although she was engaged to Joseph, she also became pregnant supernaturally while a virgin (being pregnant while engaged during that time was seriously frowned upon! Remember that Mary and Joseph did not have sex until marriage), and after Jesus was born people didn’t see Jesus as the Son of God, they saw Him as a man who came from a sinful relationship. They thought Mary and Joseph committed sexual sin and Jesus was a consequence (John 8:41). These people ignored the Old Testament teaching (which they were familiar with) that prophesied the Messiah would be born of a Virgin… Instead Jesus was view lowly by the Jews.
Jesus was not only viewed as the child of sexual sin, but Isaiah mentions that Jesus had nothing special about Him physically. He wasn’t physically astounding (he was no Brad Pitt), and His job as a carpenter did not seem special in the eyes of Jewish society (not prestigious or high paying). Yet the man who had “nowhere to lay His head” (or as we would say was “homeless” Matt. 8:20), and would die on a sinners Cross was the perfect Savior, God in the flesh, who holds the keys to eternal life (poor in our eyes, but richer than all others). Every good thing comes from Him, and yet many people today are like the Rich Young Ruler: they want a reward, not a gift and true relationship with God. Is your desire like the Ruler who did not want God’s grace but a reward, or are you willing to take up your Cross and put to death who you were, and have who you are to be found in Jesus?
Second, Jesus gave the Ruler what he needed but he did not understand what Jesus was pointing to or the reason why He asked him to sell all that he had.
Matthew 19:21-22 ESV
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Here are three points to remember today:
1) Jesus was pointing towards Himself as the place where eternal life is found: Following Him daily.
2) Jesus asked him to sell his possessions to the poor (which by the way, is counted as honoring God because God gives special care for the poor) not as a way to earn heaven, but as the emptying of himself to fill himself with the gift of life.
3) Jesus changes not only the priority of honoring God in your life, but also the direction of where you are going each day: Away from sin, and towards a loving relationship with the Savior of your soul.