June 20, Saturday

REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Mark Chun of Radiance Christian Church in S.F., is an updated version of his blog originally posted on March 16, 2013.  Mark is a graduate of University of California, San Diego (BS) and Talbot School of Theology (M.Div.).

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“A Tale of Two Lawyers Separated by 2,000 Years”

Romans 3:20a

No one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law.

annie-spratt-WvjOw4uw5pQ-unsplashLeonard W. Rothchild Jr., having become a successful lawyer and CPA by the age of 28, was highly regarded by his colleagues as an expert in international and corporate tax issues.  A dozen journals printed his articles on taxation and several European firms solicited his service.  He was also a devoted father to four children.  Nevertheless, one morning, Rothchild, after hoisting himself on the rail of the Golden Gate Bridge, fell 220 feet to his death.  He was only 46 years of age at the time.  After learning of the suicide, one baffled colleague said, “It’s a mind-blower to those of us who knew him,” while another said, “It was the biggest shock of my life and I’ve been around death a lot.”

Some 2,000 years ago in Canaan, an expert in the law (like Rothchild), asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Lk. 10:25).  Who would ask that type of a question if not someone who felt the futility of life crouching at the door?  Instead of a direct reply, Jesus asked him, “What is written in the Law.  How do you read it?”   He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul’ . . . and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  However, Jesus’ ensuing reply, “You have answered correctly . . . do this and you will live” did not sit well with this lawyer since it implied that he hadn’t kept it very well, when he thought he did.  Wanting to justify himself, he asked, “Who is my neighbor?”   

These two lawyers, separated by 2,000 years, were quite similar: amid their professional success, instead of enjoying its perks, they were greatly disappointed by how insignificant it made them feel.  At this point, the two men took different paths: whereas Rothchild never went to Jesus, the ancient lawyer did.   And it is here that Jesus can help us to see the root of our despair and hopelessness.

This man came to Jesus thinking that he had impeccably kept all the laws.  As we will find out tomorrow, Jesus proceeded to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan to show that he was a lawbreaker like all the rest.  How was that going to help him obtain eternal life?  Without being conscious of sin through the law, we will not look for a Savior (Rom. 3:20); thus, here Jesus is about to show him that truth.  As long as we feel self-righteous about how well we have lived, we won’t look to Christ.

But unlike Rothchild, at least this Jew came to Jesus and ended up receiving a correct diagnosis of his spiritual problem. Perhaps, you too have never really gone to Jesus. Why not make an effort to go to him today and ask, “Lord, what must I do to inherit eternal life.”  Then, follow his instruction.  Find him today.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You once again for intervening in my life—with the gospel through the Spirit—to keep me from entering hell.  I am forever grateful to You for what was done for me through your Son Jesus. Please help me to live a life worthy of his atoning sacrifice.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 60-61

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