Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh: Christ Counsels a Scribe About Eternal Life

In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit!

The Savior’s words addressing the person who wanted to attain perfection were “Follow Me…” The meaning of these words was simple back in the day. They meant leaving one’s family, work, vocation, habits or any other objects of attachment to join Christ in His walk along the roads of the Holy Land, witnessing His miracles, listening to His words, becoming His disciple on the deepest level and anticipating the coming events that no one knew about, except the Son of God, who came into the world to give His life for it.

But what do these words mean when they are addressed to us? They cannot possibly mean following Christ in the physical sense; and yet, Christ calls us to follow Him, so that we could enter into eternal life. When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Christ where He lived, His reply was, “Come and see…” In an earthly sense, He lived in a hut near the Jordan River. There is however another dimension, which infatuated the disciples once and for all. In that sense, according to the Holy Scriptures, He lived in unapproachable light, in the depths of the Divine; in the light that illuminates every person entering the world.

Consequently, the Lord calls us to follow Him into the depths of His knowledge, into the depths of eternity and life. In His own words, eternal life is to know God and His Son Jesus Christ, to unite with Him deeply and inseparably, so that we could say, “My life is Christ; His teaching, His ways, His thoughts, His feelings, His will and His destiny are mine; I take them upon myself, as a cross, as the Resurrection, as death, life and the path.

Following Christ today means listening to His Divine word that shows us the way of life and being His disciples to the best of our ability. However, just as it was in the ancient times, doing so requires being free from everything that otherwise makes us slaves, not letting  into eternal life. Each of us should think about this privately, because each of us has something that he prefers to God, whether consciously or not. To do this, we need to look deeply into ourselves and ask ourselves one question: “If the Savior was standing before me right now, saying, ‘Leave this, for this is the only barrier between you and eternal life’ what would I answer to this?” Would I do it or would I say, “Forgive me, Lord, but I can’t.”?

This is what we need to think about, because we are all called to follow Christ for the glory of eternal life. This is our vocation — to be resurrected in spirit before, in due time, we are resurrected in body; to enter the mystery of the Divine, to know God, in the words of St Paul the Apostle, just as we ourselves are known by Him, to worship Him with all our life, with all our spirit, with all our truth. Amen.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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