Friday 7 September, 2018

Matthew 19:16-30

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get 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 life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” 20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” 26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

Religious leaders often came to Jesus to challenge him, because they were looking to drag him down.

Now Jesus challenges a young religious leader because he loves him (Mark tells us “Jesus felt genuine love for him” Mark 10:21). This young man thinks he can earn eternal life by what he does. He’s confident that he’s done all that the law requires, but his question shows he knows something is missing. Jesus sees his heart and points straight to a command that he can’t obey. He loves himself more than his neighbour. He’d rather walk away from his God than walk away from his wealth. Paul puts it plainly “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:19-20). The young man is placing his confidence in himself. He needs to put is trust in Jesus. Jesus tells them clearly that salvation is impossible for man, only possible for God.

Next Jesus challenges his disciples. They looked at the young man’s wealth and power and thought “everybody knows they must be a reward for his godly life”. And now Jesus is telling them it’s a barrier to entering God’s kingdom (because he loved it more than Jesus).

But Peter’s still caught on doing things to be saved: “We have left everything to follow you! What reward will be given to us?” He’s missed the point. It’s not the giving things up that would save him; it’s following Jesus.

Now I’m challenged. What wrong concepts are holding me back? What do I love more than Jesus?

Jesus, I want to walk with you. Show me everything that is holding me back. Speak into every area where my mind needs to be renewed, and brought into line with you.

Written by David Cornell

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