It's kind of funny how we (specifically me) can miss the main point, repeatedly. I'm referring to one of my favorite portions of Scripture, the rich young ruler's encounter with Jesus.
10:17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 10:18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 10:19 You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" 10:20 And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." 10:21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." 10:22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Having been enthralled with Jesus' wisdom and ability to see right to the heart of the rich young rulers idolatry, I failed to see the obvious. The young man comes with a serious question. Jesus answers the young man's question, what he must do to inherit eternal life is this: come and follow Jesus. Jesus merely confronted the young man's idolatry and then gave him the greatest wisdom possible, "come, follow me."
The rich young ruler had not eyes to see that Jesus was the infinitely valuable treasure. He chose instead to go away sad because he had many possessions.
What's really interesting about my finally being able see this is that it came as a result of a simple question from an inmate at the jail. He came up to me just prior to leaving and speaking very quietly, asked something like, "Jesus wasn't saying you will inherit eternal life if you merely keep all these commandments, was he?"
All of the sudden it occurred to me I had missed the main point of the passage. The bottom line answer to the young man's question is Jesus' instruction for the young man to "come and follow me."
The tragedy of this portion of Scripture is the young man's inability to apply the life giving wisdom of Christ. The tragedy is not however the main point.
I think I failed to mention that I've taught on this portion of Scripture at the jail at least 5 or 6 times now.
Thank goodness for grace...