March 22, 2023
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 18 ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honour your father and mother.”’ 20 ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ 21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked round and said to his disciples, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!’ 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.’ 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?’ 27 Jesus looked at them and said, ‘With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.’ 28 Then Peter spoke up, ‘We have left everything to follow you!’ 29 ‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.’
Entering God’s Kingdom
The request that Jesus makes to the rich man consists of two steps. First, sell and give to the poor; then, follow him. This is a lesson for us all - to give up earthly riches and desires, be merciful and generous to others, not to rely on this world but to “crucify the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24), and then, to be resurrected in Christ and follow him, rely on him, and live by faith for his glory.
What is your stumbling block? What prevents you from saying a full yes to Jesus and following him? Where does your heart truly lie? Do not store up treasures on earth, but in heaven, “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Entering God's kingdom demands everything from us. And in our limited human nature, this seems impossible to achieve, but not for God, “all things are possible with God.” We understand that following Jesus requires sacrifices, a radical change in our hearts and in the way we live our life. However, the very God that demands everything from us is also the one that surrounds us with immeasurable grace and love, and that is all we need. God can do incredible things through us if we humbly surrender to him. “Let us seek first the kingdom of God and all others will be given to us.” (Matthew 6:33)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, show me what needs to change in my heart, transform and direct my life, align my values with yours. God, help me see that your grace is sufficient for me and that your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Amen.