Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Chocolate a Sin? Part Two

The World
Let’s see how the world has affected this wealthy young fellow. First off, we know that he is wealthy and wealth was and still is considered by many to be evidence of God’s approval. This young man was accustomed to be treated as one who has been abundantly blessed by God, he has made it in this life and is a shoo in for the life to come.

He is greatly respected. Luke tells us he was a ruler. Now that term could mean he was a member of the Sanhedrin or a civic leader but it most likely means he was a member of the upper class. He would be treated accordingly. In the musical, Fiddler On A Roof, Reb Tevye explains this treatment perfectly in the song “If I Were A Rich Man”.

The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
“If you please, Reb Tevye...”
“Pardon me, Reb Tevye...”
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi’s eyes!
And it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong.
When you’re rich, they think you really know!

This young man had the respect and honor and the approval of the world. He knew well how the system of the world worked. He loved the world and the world loved him. He ran up to Jesus and Luke tells us he got down on his knees and he said ‘good teacher’.

“Good teacher” was not a common greeting to a rabbi. This young man was going over the top in addressing Jesus. He was trying to flatter Jesus. He knew how it worked. People flattered this young man all the time. Jesus was drawing a crowd and this young man new the economy of popularity. “Good teacher!”

“Why do you call me good? Only God is good” This response has bewildered bible scholars for centuries because as a matter of fact the bible does speak of good men. So I believe the best explanation for our Lord’s response was to knock down the obvious empty flattery of this fellow. Jesus is letting him know that he does not march to the drummings of this fallen, pride-filled world.

There was another young man watching this scene play out who had given up everything for Jesus. He watched this rich young man, who the world had made great, putting on airs before the Christ and many years later the apostle John would write-

Do not love the world or the things in the world. “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world - the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions - is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

At the time this was happening however, John’s response was bewilderment thinking ‘if it’s difficult for the wealthy to be saved then who can be saved.”

Now remember, when we speak of the ‘world’ we are speaking of that whole value-system which dominates society and it is contrary to the ways of God. The world puts very different price tags on things and thoughts than God’s Word does. Popularity, wealth, selfish ambition - these are the values of the world. If you want it, take it. If it feels good, do it. I’ve gotta be me. I don’t need to parade out examples of worldliness. We have TV and billboards that do that. Some of us will react in sadness and resoluteness against such worldliness but most of us won’t even notice, because we have been desensitized by the constant glut to our senses. Examine yourselves to see if you have been polluted by the world’s value system and repent of your love for this world.

No comments: