Posted: May 12, 2012 in Books, Christianity, Education, Family, History, Life, Lifestyle, News, Parenting, Quotes, Uncategorized

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

– John 15:5 NIV

The significance of the conversation between the rich young ruler and Jesus is the young man’s misconception about how to inherit eternal life. Believing he could merit eternal life by the merit of his own goodness, or through the merit of good deeds (What must I do to inherit eternal life?). He was deceived by his own self-righteousness that he did not lack anything necessary to attain eternal life. This may be probably because his personal success and wealth allowed him to acquire anything, to this point in his life, his heart desired. He walked away sad from his conversation with Jesus, because the way he thought about attaining eternal life clouded him from seeing Jesus Christ as the source of eternal salvation, as others saw Him. The thief on the cross who hung next to Jesus, as they each were being crucified, entered Paradise because he could see Jesus. The rich young man walked away sad because he could not. The rich young ruler’s mind and heart were clouded by his own self-worth, significance and status that prevented him from seeing his need for Jesus. He was only thinking about what he could get, so Jesus challenged him to think about what he would need to give in order to receive what he sought to acquire.

Eternal life is not just about an eternal resting place. Eternal life begins with salvation, but expands exponentially beyond what we gain through inheriting eternal life to what we will be required to give in exchange for what Christ came for us to have. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – John 10:10b NIV In the beginning, in the book of Genesis (See Genesis 1:26-28), God ordained that we would reflect His image and likeness in the earth and be fruitful. In the gospel of John, we see Jesus explaining to His disciples the expectation of what God ordained in the beginning regarding the principle of being fruitful. Apart from Him, He added, they cannot do what He required. Some would think that being fruitful would mean to be productive in work, successful in what one puts their hands to do. This could be one interpretation and, by that standard, there would be scripture references that would clearly support that. Keeping everything in context with what God declared in Genesis 1:26-28 regarding reflecting His image and bearing His likeness in the earth, in being fruitful, that Jesus said apart from Him could not be achieved; I invite you to consider what the Apostle Paul discussed in the new testament book of Galatians regarding the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

Apart from the person of Jesus living inside of me to produce the fruit of His character, where can I go to get love sufficient to love my enemies? For those who would boast in their capacity to love, Jesus challenged us to consider what sacrifice is made in loving those who love you. The hidden life, eternal life, is a spiritual life produced by the Holy Spirit living inside of me as I strive to live according to God’s word. This is why Jesus said to His disciples, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5b NIV Apart from Jesus Christ we cannot be fruitful to display the image and likeness of God in the earth the way He intended in the beginning. If we could, what would be the need for Jesus Christ? This is significant, because the rich young ruler walked away sad when Jesus challenged him, using his wealth to help him see where his treasure was, by requiring a personal sacrifice. A man named Zacchaeus was willing to do what Jesus required of the rich young ruler, up to half of his wealth, and the bible says that Jesus declared salvation came to Zacchaeus that same day. Yet, the rich young man walked away sad.

Beyond salvation, Jesus is looking to see who will be willing to make the personal sacrifices required in order to be fruitful allowing the person, presence and power of Christ to manifest in them and through them to display the image and likeness of God and make the world around them a better place. “And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.” – Isaiah 58:10 NIV This is what Jesus was conveying to the rich young man on the subject of eternal life, but because of his great wealth, the young man walked away sad because he could not see beyond himself. But Jesus was only challenging him to follow His example. Apart from Him we cannot do what God requires to experience the hidden life with Christ in God. Beyond salvation, God is challenging us to spend ourselves to display His likeness and image in the earth and make the world around us better and if we do this we will have treasure in heaven.

May God bless you and help you to become fruitful in displaying His image and likeness in the earth and making consistent positive contributions to the lives of others to make the world around you a better place and experience the fullness of life Christ came for you to have.

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