Our Lent readings today look at two different men and how they approached and responded to Jesus. In Luke 18:18-23, we see a rich young man asking what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus pointed him to the commandments and the man affirmed his belief in these, but when Jesus asked him to give up his money and serve the poor, he was not willing. This was a step too far; he was not willing to let go of his man-made security and join Jesus on a journey of faith.
Zacchaeus, on the other hand, was desperate to follow Jesus. (Luke 19:1-10) A despised tax collector, he was willing to give up his profiteering and follow Jesus. For both men, what was on offer was a radically different way of life, a life where material possessions didn’t have the defining word. One man could not let go of his version of truth, where money and possessions defined him. The other realised that such things could not give him access to eternal life and so he let go of them.
Jesus is rightly called the Saviour, the author of salvation. But to be saved, we have to let go of everything which we used to think could save us and call on Him as the only One who can. For some, this may mean letting go of financial security. For others, it might mean letting go of a relationship or a job. For everyone, it will mean the opportunity to follow Jesus, but not everyone has the courage to take this step. The Easter story shows us that it is worth doing this, for when we follow Jesus, we can enter eternal life with God.