7705 - Even the Rich

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As Jesus and his disciples proceed toward Jerusalem, people continued to seek his counsel. In Luke 18: verses 18-30 we read:


18 A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

19 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good --except God alone.

20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.' "

21 "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth.

24 Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!

25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

26 Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"

27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

28 Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God

30 Will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

Here a young ruler comes to Jesus. He asks: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Notice his recognition of Jesus. Good teacher, he says. Was Jesus just a well known teacher to this wealthy young ruler?

Jesus asked, “Why do you call me good?” Are you seeking to flatter me? “No one is good – except God alone.” Jesus is probing this young man. Do you recognize me as God? He could have said to him, “I am truly God so you properly called me good.”; but he did not say that. Rather he addresses the issue of eternal life by reciting five of the ten commandments which had to do with works. Perhaps Jesus perceived that this young man is thinking about working his way to heaven. How many young men can honestly reply as this young man, “All these I have kept since I was a boy.” It could have been true. Jesus did not challenge his answer. If accurate, this was truly a choice young citizen.

The Mark parallel account of this episode tells us Jesus loved him. This would lead us to believe that this young man really had lived an exemplary, although legalistic, life.

Jesus then cuts right to the issue of discipleship. You still lack one thing, he said.

The Young man was not given an opportunity to question Jesus on this point, because Jesus proceeded to tell him how he can demonstrate that he is serious about this matter. Jesus tells him to sell everything he owns, then give the proceeds to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and join me as we travel to Jerusalem.

What a blow! That was a heavy thought. Sell everything I own? Give all the proceeds to the poor? I’m rich! How would I then live? I would be broke.

The Bible tells us this young man became very sad. Don’t you know his mind was doing a double flip?

Jesus addresses the young man with these words: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!”

Friend, entry into the Kingdom of God is not for sale. No one may just buy a ticket. Neither can it be earned.

The onlookers, in amazement asked, if a rich man cannot be saved then who can?

Jesus gave the answer. “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Notice the answer Jesus gives applies to all men – rich or poor, old or young, no regard to nationality. The only way to get to heaven is to receive the mercy of God. And the price is an active, true faith in Jesus Christ. It’s that simple.