Mark 10, 12, Luke 12, 14, 16
--- Due to very busy work and church schedules, and the fact that you guys don’t pay me well enough to retire on my blogging, this lesson will sadly be shorter than normal. Hopefully I’ll get things back up to speed within a couple weeks. ---
The Foolish Rich Man
One day as Jesus taught, a young rich man asked him what was necessary to obtain eternal life. In asking this, the young man had called Jesus, “Good Master.” Jesus asked him why he called him “good” when no one is good except for God.
In this moment, Jesus showed the separateness of the Father and himself. While pure, Jesus still was not perfected and glorified. He had not yet completed his own mortal experience. His mission was not complete, and he was not yet resurrected. He was not yet ready to be called “good” or complete. In this same sense, the mortal Jesus encouraged his disciples to be “perfect even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Later, the resurrected Jesus would tell the Nephites to be perfect as both God and he are perfect (Matthew 12:48). In other words, Jesus was holy, but had not obtained a fullness of divinity yet.
The young man was not asking about basic salvation. Jesus’ atonement covers all mankind that will turn towards the Savior. He was asking about eternal life, or exaltation in the highest level of heaven. Basic salvation does not require works, except for faith and repentance. But to receive the fullness of God’s blessings requires us to become holy, even as Christ is holy. This means keeping the commandments, and then some.
In answering the young man, he first asked him if he kept the 10 commandments of Moses. These were the basics necessary for worthiness. When the young man admitted he had kept these since his youth, the Lord “loved him”. He appreciated the good this young man had done through his life in his search to be holy.
“21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
“22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
The law of Moses is a good law that leads us to better things. But it is not the greater law of Christ’s gospel. In the Lord’s law, we must be willing to give up all things and follow him for any and all reasons.
The Lord may not ask us to give up all our riches. Instead, he will ask each of us what thing is of greatest worth to us, and ask us to give it away and follow him. What thing in our life is the one thing that will keep us out of heaven, simply because we love it more than following Christ? Today, people have addictions to wealth, alcohol, drugs, television, video games, sex, eating, pride, anger, and a very long list of other things.
We each must look inside ourselves and determine what one thing it is that we must be willing to give up, and then give it up. It isn’t an easy thing to do. If it were, then it would not be the ultimate sacrifice to the Lord. Jesus would also have to do the same thing. In Gethsemane and on the cross, he would have to give up the one thing: his own will and desire. He would desire not to pass through the pains of the world. Nonetheless, he wanted to do God’s will, not his own. And in swallowing up his own desires in God’s, he became the One to follow to eternal life, exaltation.
LDS New Testament teacher’s manual for lesson 17: http://lds.org/manual/new-testament-gospel-doctrine-teachers-manual/lesson-17-what-shall-i-do-that-i-may-inherit-eternal-life?lang=eng