Sweden – Linda Johnson

The young man pursued Jesus.  We know he’s rich because Jesus says that he is in Matthew 19:23.  This occurs right after Jesus blesses the little children.  It’s a story worth reflecting on time and time again.  The story of the rich young ruler can be found in Matthew 19, Mark 10, and Luke 18.

This man has all the attributes of a fine, upstanding young man. He more than likely has some position of authority among the Jews. It’s obvious upon reading the excerpt that he was probably brought up in a fine family that followed the law of Moses. He was also a fine person who possessed a good moral character. All-in-all, he was an upright human being.

It’s apparent that he has heard Jesus and he values the opinions of this Rabbi that many are beginning to believe is the Messiah. He’s not one to test Jesus to try and find fault with him. He sincerely wants to know what he must do to inherit eternal life. And he believes that Jesus is the one to tell him.

So he pursues him, and asks him the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Now, remember, Jesus knows the heart of everyone. He tells this young man to keep the commandments.  Interestingly, the man wants to know which ones. An odd question.  However, Jesus continues and lists them. He must be young because the next thing he says is that he has kept all of them.

This is where it gets interesting.  Jesus looks at him and his heart goes out to him. He loves him (Mark 10:21). It probably grieves Jesus that he must tell this young man that to inherit eternal life he should sell all his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow him. He already knows the man will turn away in dismay. It must have been sad for Jesus as well.

Now jump ahead to John 11.  Lazarus is sick. His sister Mary, who is the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair, sends for Jesus. She says that her brother whom Jesus loves is sick. Could this be the rich young ruler? Who knows, but think about it.  Jesus wept (John 11:35).  Perhaps Lazarus has died and is destined for eternal death–not eternal life.  Jesus speaks a prayer to God the Father and raises Lazarus from the dead. There are others that suppose that Lazarus and the young man are one and the same. Charles J. Ellicott who authored Ellicott’s Bible Commentary is one such person.  But, it is only conjecture.  

Our service begins at 11 a.m. (Sunday school is at 10 a.m.) and evening service begins at 6 p.m.  Bible study is Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m. except for our business meeting which is held the second Wednesday of each month.  Sweden Church is east of Ava about 10 miles on Highway 14 and then left onto 14-219 a quarter-mile.