A rich young man came to Jesus and asked him 'how can I win?' (how can I inherit eternal life?). What would you say? I was raised with a worldview for winners... triumph for the strong and the able. But Jesus' offers a worldview for losers, life for those who can't, don't, won't.
The man who met Jesus was moral but Jesus said to him, in love: Morality doesn't cut it, money is your god, turn from it. 'Repent of your god and receive Jesus.' The man left disheartened. Our gods go deep, our hearts love them. What's ringfenced from Jesus in my life? What can't Jesus say no to? What would be hell for me? For you? Will we let Jesus challenge our autonomy... our freedom... sexuality... sources of significance... cultural norms... rights...
Jesus said - how difficult, how difficult, more: how impossible for people to enter the kingdom, to be like children who just receive the gift that Jesus offers. Man cannot do it. Man does not need to do it. You can't get camel's through the eye of needles, and you can't get people free from their gods.
The only way is for Jesus to die, and put me to death, to end me so I can be raised to a new life. To have him offer me the gift of himself so I can live. All is gift with Jesus. Jesus is the gift. The renewal of all things through his death and resurrection...
Here is radical inclusivity - anyone can receive Jesus if they'll have him.
Here is radical exclusivity - you can only have Jesus if you'll have him.
I love reward. I love earning it. I love accomplishing. I love attaining. But Jesus says no to me and my self-righteousness. He loves me enough. He loves me to death. He loves me and says: you can't save you, your gods can't save you, but ask of me, receive.
Image: Creative Commons - Kate Ter Haar