Wednesday 23 March 2022

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.

As a person who grew up in church and always tried to be “good girl”, I must admit that I was a bit shocked as I got older to discover that “being good” was an impossible task.

As I’ve grown in self-awareness, I’ve discovered that even when I think I am doing something good, I am often, deep down, still acting in my own best interests.

Jesus is quite clear on this as He answers the man’s question about how to be good enough to gain eternal life. No one is good but God. Period.

Jesus goes on to say, you can try keeping all the Commandments and doing everything that God requires, but the disciples pick up on this and are astounded at how hard this is – “Who in the world can be saved?”

In fact, Jesus responds, it is humanly impossible to be saved on our own merit. But with God, it is possible!

What a relief! All my striving to be perfect and then still falling short is wrapped up in the grace and forgiveness of Jesus.

Today I am freshly grateful to Jesus for lifting the burden of perfectionism off our shoulders.

Written by Shelley Witt

2 replies
  1. Richard says:

    Thanks Shelley

    There is so much in this passage! The young person asking what good thing they are to do – as if there was one thing that gets us into eternity. The young person declares they have achieved what Jesus asks. Jesus then says give away your wealth and follow Him. I have commonly thought that it is the giving away of so much that was this person’s stumbling block, and that is fair to say given Jesus comment about rich people afterwards. However, I wonder how much of a stumbling block to this person was the second piece of Jesus’ request – to follow Him.

    The Jews presumed that there was a correlation between wealth and God’s approval and I think we commonly fall into this error as well. Jesus is making the point that the amount we may have or not is not a measure of God’s blessing necessarily but that following Him means you are on the right path to eternal life.

    Father, help me to see properly and to follow You wholeheartedly.

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