Christmas in Luke (Day 18)

Today’s reading is Luke 18.

There are no neutral encounters with Jesus. Everyone who comes in contact with Him will be faced with a decision.

Today’s chapter records the account of a rich ruler who came to Jesus asking the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Verse 18) Jesus’ reply was a mirror reflecting what was really in this man’s heart: “When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”” (Verse 22)

This man had done all the rituals required by the law. He had obeyed all the commandments since he was a child. But one thing was more important to him than following God with all he heart, His wealth.

In our hearts there is room for only one King, Jesus. When we come to Him, we are faced with a choice— our way or His. This choice is not so we have more rules and regulations to follow. His way is the only way we can experience His heavenly treasures. (Verse 22) His way is the only way we can experience Him. His way is only and always perfect.

As we have reflected each day this month on the Christmas story we see this truth as well. Each and every detail of Jesus’ birth fulfilled prophecies of times long before and the obedience of each person who God used in the story brought about the most important event of history, Jesus our Heavenly King coming to us.

The obedience displayed in Mary’s words in Luke 1:38 at the announcement that she would be the mother of Jesus reflected a heart obedient to God. “I am the Lord’s servant…may your word to me be fulfilled.”
This word the Angel proclaimed had a price. It would cost her her reputation, her plans, her way. Yet she obeyed and she participated in God’s awesome plan!

The rich ruler had an opportunity as well, but he left Jesus’ presence with sadness. Because in His encounter with Jesus, the man chose to not “love the Lord His God (Jesus) with all His heart, with all his soul and all his strength.” The young ruler loved his ways more than Jesus’.

We also face our own personal encounter with Jesus. We have a choice that has no neutrality. Will we follow His way or ours? May our response be as Mary responded to the Angel months before the first Christmas. “I am the Lord’s servant… may your word to me be fulfilled.”

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