The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.






A Matter Of Faith

Trying to make it on your own.

by Pastor Joel Lawler

A successful and powerful young man approached Jesus. He fell on his knees in front of Jesus and asked Him "Good teacher. What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus responded by asking him "Why do you call me good?" "No one is good--except God alone. You know the commandments."

The man was a devout Jew and knew all the commandments and rules that were a part of his faith.

The man said "I have kept all of them since I was a boy."

Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus then said that it was hard for the rich to find eternal life.

Those standing around Jesus asked "who can be saved?"

Pastor Joel Lawler

Jesus told them "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

It is a part of being human to think that we can overcome any problem through our own efforts. There are many great stories that have the theme of a character that is down and out and beyond hope coming back and rising above adversity to overcome their situation. We connect with those stories because in all of us there is a drive to be challenged and to prove that we can beat what is put before us.

The person in the story had to work very hard to keep the commandments. These rules are difficult and take great discipline to adhere to. He had to have given a great effort and made many sacrifices in order to live up to this standard. Despite successfully living this way, he found something lacking in his life otherwise he would not have approached Jesus and asked him the question of "What must I do to inherit eternal life?". In spite of all his efforts and success, the pieces were not coming together for him. He knew in his heart that he was falling short.

His question is an interesting one in that he asks Jesus what else does he

need to do. He is completely relying on his own great efforts to get to God. He wants Jesus to give him another commandment to follow or another list that he can check off. Jesus gives him more than what he bargained for. Jesus tells him to give up that which was most precious to him. This price was too great.

The price will always be too great. No matter who you are or where you have been or what you have done, the price will always and forever be too great. This is why Jesus says with man it is impossible. You cannot work, sacrifice or pay your way to God. It is impossible. We are without hope on our own and are absolutely lost.

When Jesus was being executed, there were two criminals that were dying with him.

One of the criminals said to Him "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
The other criminal had a completely different attitude and perspective and said to the first criminal "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."

He then said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The second criminal could do nothing to earn God's favor. He was in the last moments of his life. A life that he admittedly made some bad mistakes. All he could do was ask Jesus to have mercy on him and Jesus promised to do so.

Who can be saved?

"With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."