Saturday 23 August, 2014

Matthew 19:13-30

13 Some people brought little children to Jesus. They wanted him to place his hands on the children and pray for them. But the disciples told the people to stop. 14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t keep them away. The kingdom of heaven belongs to people like them.” 15 Jesus placed his hands on them. Then he went on from there. 16 A man came up to Jesus. He asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter the kingdom, obey the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. Jesus said, “‘Do not commit murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not give false witness. 19 Honor your father and mother.’ (Exodus 20:12–16; Deuteronomy 5:16–20) And ‘love your neighbor as you love yourself.’” (Leviticus 19:18) 20 “I have obeyed all those commandments,” the young man said. “What else do I need to do?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad. He was very rich. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “What I’m about to tell you is true. It is hard for rich people to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is hard for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. But it is even harder for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were really amazed. They asked, “Then who can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man, that is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.” 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What reward will be given to us?” 28 “What I’m about to tell you is true,” Jesus said to them. “When all things are made new, the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne. Then you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones. You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel. 29 Everyone who has left houses or families or fields because of me will receive 100 times as much. They will also receive eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last. And many who are last will be first.

Jesus turns everything upside down. He rearranges the social order according to God’s values.

The disciples put the children at the bottom, deeming them unworthy of Jesus’ time and attention. But God lets them into His Kingdom.

The rich young man put himself at the top and expected Jesus to reassure him that heaven would be his because of his righteous living. But when Jesus asked him to give up his possessions to the poor and follow Him, the man could not do it.

Jesus says that our heavenly rewards will be greater than our earthly losses if we follow Him.

The disciples are perplexed, if the rich and the righteous don’t get to heaven then who can? Jesus says that salvation doesn’t depend on who we are or what we do (our human attributes), but on God’s grace. It is easier for a child to come to God because they are unencumbered, simple and trusting. The rich and the self important people have too many worldly rewards to lose to follow Jesus.

I like my wealth and comforts and I can convince myself that this is ok as long as I see them as Gods blessings and I am thankful. But despite this I know that sometimes God calls me to give up some things to be available to do something for Him, but I hold back and say no.

Dear God please help me to see what is really valuable in your eyes, not mine. To rely on your security and grace, not possessions or status or good deeds. Help me to use what you have placed in my hands for your kingdom. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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