Leave a comment

Which Ones?

Christ And The Rich Young Ruler – Heinrich Hofmann


Having revealed the rich young man’s knowledge of God’s law we hear the question that echoes in every man’s heart.

Which commandments do I have to keep?

Do I have to keep the Ten Commandments?
Do I have to keep the dietary laws of the Old Testament?
Do I have to tithe?
Do I have to …

observe all that I commanded you… (Matthew 28:20)

Lord, give me a list lest I die!

This young man was asking the wrong questions.

1 – Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life? (Matthew 19:16)

2 – Which ones? (verse 18)

Jesus messes with this in John 17 where He makes the stunning statement:

This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. – John 17:3

Jesus wrecks this idea again when He describes the judgment.

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.‘ – Matthew 7:22-23

Wow Jesus, You pretty much destroyed that whole ‘good deeds’ thing!

You see, it’s not about a list of things to do.

It’s about a Man to love, a Shepherd to follow, a Heart to hear.

Yes there are all kinds of DOs in Christianity, and even in the mouth of Christ – hearers and not doers – these are the ones who fall into condemnation. But doers who aren’t knowers are just as lost.

Lord, I want to know You. I want to hear Your voice. I want to follow Your heart.

Ben NelsonThere’s more…

Come back soon.



Leave a comment

You Know

Christ And The Rich Young Ruler – Heinrich Hofmann


You know the commandmentsMark 10:19

When the rich young ruler asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life, Jesus does not make him the same offer He made Nicodemus or the woman at the well.

But there is a similarity in the way Jesus leads this young man and how He guided these others. He used what they did know and drew them in to what they lacked.

With Nick, He talked about what could be observed about what was unseen.

With the woman holding a vessel, He talked about water.

With this young man, he talked about the law.

You know the commandments.

How did Jesus know he knew?

Luke tells us, in his account of the meeting that this young man was a ruler – perhaps a ruler of the synagogue? Or perhaps he was in Jewish garb of some sort.

Or perhaps Jesus was just leading him to the same conclusion that Paul makes with the Christians in Rome when he makes a case for the universal law known by all men.

…because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. – Romans 1:19-20

He ends the first chapter (I know – he did not write it in chapters) with this stunning declaration

…and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. – Romans 1:32

That verse always makes me stop.

This “them” and “they” is referring to all men.

They (all men) KNOW the ordinance of God.

They (all men) KNOW the price set for unrighteousness.

They (all men) practice and approve.

And so I can say with Jesus

You know the commandments.


Ben NelsonThere is more to say – come back again.


Hey – check out my recent retelling of the encounter with this rich young man: What Am I Lacking?



The Care and Feeding of Lilies

photo credit: robynejay via photopin cc

photo credit: robynejay via photopin cc


My beloved went down to his garden,
To the beds of the spice,
To delight himself in the gardens,
and to gather lilies.

Song of Songs 6:2 YLT

When the Lord comes into His gardens (yes, He has many) we see Him engaged in two activities.

We have seen in the Song of Songs that the Lord’s gardens are the inner lives of those who have given themselves to Him. A few weeks ago we observed that the maiden in the Song gave her garden to Him to do with as He pleased.


The way I see this, is that the Lord comes to us (so glad He makes house calls) and ministers to us in our (well His) garden, our secret place. He comes to His garden to tend to it. That ministry looks a lot like a shepherd’s care. He feeds us, cleans us, keeps us near the good drinking water. In danger, He is present with His rod and staff to protect. In our moments of folly (oh yes we do) He is present with His rod and staff to correct and collect us.


If you remember the Shepherd King called His maiden the lily of the valley and again a lily among thorns. And so He gather’s the lilies. Part of His care for us is to join us to the gathering of lilies – a.k.a. the church – His body. I challenge you with this idea. Next time you walk into your church gathering (whether you meet in a living room or in a cathedral) take a look around and see if you can see the beauty of a field of lilies.

Here in the North East US it is lily season. I love to walk past a garden with a pack of Tiger Lilies reaching up toward the sun. Or flocks of that shorter variety that look like a parade of trumpeters announcing the coming of their king.

Jesus, our Great Shepherd delights to shepherd us and gather us. His heart is toward His gardens, their cultivation and care. Do you share His heart for His people?

Lord, help me to appreciate the others You have gathered. Will You share Your heart for them with me. Can You help me see them as You do?

ben rin and nora

Thanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine.




What are you waiting for?

the water is stirring

…waiting for the moving of the waters; – John 5:3

How much of our life do we spend waiting.

  • I will do something big for God when …
  • I will fulfill my destiny when …
  • I will answer God’s call when …

Or maybe

  • I’ll pray more when …
  • I’ll read my Bible …
  • I’ll give my money to the poor when …

When what?

  • … when I’m out of school.
  • … when I’m out of my parent’s house.
  • … when I’m married.
  • … when I’m out of debt.
  • … when I’m retired.

Jesus says to the man waiting at the pool of Bethesda:

Do you wish to get well? – John 5:6

The man gives him a reason he can’t be made well. But that was not the question, was it?

God is not looking at you thinking

“Too bad he/she is in those circumstances.”

Rather, I am convinced these ‘huge’ obstacles that completely derail us don’t faze Him at all.

Jesus simply tells him:

Get up, pick up your pallet and walk. – John 5:8

  • He didn’t touch him.
  • He didn’t curse the pool.
  • He didn’t call a prayer meeting.
  • He simply told him to get up and walk.

What is keeping you from doing God will, from being what He has called you to be?

Can you hear the voice of Jesus today?

Get up and walk!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.


Hey – don’t miss the recent addition to my “Encounters” series – “What I Found at the Well.”


The Good Seed – Wheat and Tares – Part 5

I find myself with a bit of a crazy life. I went digging through the archives for something good to share today and found this. It is right out of the middle of a series on the parable of the Wheat and Tares, but it stands alone nicely. If you want to dig into this parable, you can head here for the first one in the series.



He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.

and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one” (Matthew 13:24, 38 NASB)

Another simple one today – Seed.

The Greek word pretty much preaches itself: the Greek word for seed is sperma.

Here are a couple excerpts from Thayer’s Lexicon (skipping the human seed definitions)

- the seed i.e. the grain or kernel which contains within itself the germ of the future plants
– whatever possesses vital force or life giving power
– of divine energy of the Holy Spirit operating within the soul by which we are regenerated



In the last parable – (the Parable of the Soils) the seed was the Word of God planted in us to impregnate us with truth and the life of God.

Boy – that’ll preach brother Ben.

In this parable the good seed are the sons of the kingdom.

So here it is:

  • First the Word of Life – the seed (sperma) of the Lord  – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life – is planted in your heart
  • You become pregnant – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.
  • Then you (sperma) are in turn planted in the earth – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life.

I love that the Word is seed in me, and I am seed in the world. I am God’s method of bringing that seed (His word – bursting with new, wonderful, abundant life) to a lost and dying world.

Are you wiling to be planted?

It does mean you will have to die, so others can have life.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24 NASB)

Today is a great day to die! Just think of the new, wonderful, abundant life you will be creating! [Tweet This]

BenThanks for stopping by today.

See you tomorrow.


Field photo credit: downhilldom1984 via photopin cc

Seed photo credit: Martin LaBar (going on hiatus) via photopin cc

Thayer’s Lexicon via BlueLetterBible.org


Savior’s Food

Originally posted on Comments on Christianity:

The Last Supper - Leonardo  Da Vinci

The Last Supper – Leonardo Da Vinci

By Benjamin Nelson

Jesus said:


Which, by the way, is a direct quote from Deuteronomy 8:3

Jesus also said:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.John 4:34

So which is it?

Is God’s Word spoken to our hearts the food we live on?

Is accomplishing what He sends us to do what sustains us?

What I want to show you today is that, to Jesus, there was no distinction between hearing and doing.

And this is where we fall down.

We hear the Word of the Father, and we judge it, we debate it, we line up for or against it. We come just short…

View original 625 more words


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,032 other followers

%d bloggers like this: