A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 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.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
1. The familiar mentality of “What do I need to do?”
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
The young ruler was approaching Jesus with the mindset that there was a list of things that he could check off to make himself right.
Ephesians 2:9 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Paul is extremely clear that there is no check box to earn salvation from God. It is a pure gift.
2. The reality of the checklist is there is always something on there that we cannot check off.
The young ruler believed he had checked all the boxes until Jesus began discussing his wealth.
The checklist mentality can leave us unfulfilled and sad because it is never complete.
3. Do you want to know him or just what to do?
Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
While a checklist is a chore a relationship is an opportunity.
Jesus was willing to eat in the house Zacchaeus paid for by scamming his own people.
Jesus didn’t boycott tax collectors houses he ate in them. We don’t change the world by ceasing to associate with sinners.
4. The relationship produces results that a checklist never will.
Instead of walking away sad after dinner Zacchaeus partners in the Gospel.
We get familiar with what must I do to check the box instead of looking for ways to do more.
Zacchaeus gave in a passionate response to the Gospel, partnering to make sure others experienced the same free grace that he did.
Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.