Luke 18:18 ¶ And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.
Luke 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’”
Luke 18:21 And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.”
Luke 18:22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
Luke 18:23 But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.
Luke 18:24 Jesus, seeing that he had become sad, said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!
Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
A lot of people read this and get hung up on the rich and poor aspect of it. That’s not what it’s about when Jesus begins.
The original question was “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus led the guy through some self-discovery to see for himself what was keeping him stuck in this world’s paradise and out of the next one’s. It turned out to be riches.
If we come to Jesus, we must come to Him and make Him the authority in our lives. He is kind and patient and will let us do all sorts of silly and harmful things according to our will, but if we are going to take His Name and Kingship, we have to make Him the King.
I wonder if we make this event into a parable about money because this man’s grip is so similar to our own. We turn the camel story into an expression instead of Jesus stating that it’s impossible. We think that maybe it really means that we can be a little rich.
It’s hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven because it’s so hard to respond to Jesus when He says something like “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
He doesn’t say that to everyone.
He didn’t say it to poor people. He didn’t say it to Nicodemas. He didn’t say it to the Pharisees. Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha were pretty well-off and Jesus didn’t tell them to become poor.
He said it to the people that needed to do that to follow Him fully. The people that had already given it all up or would certainly do it in a second had already entered eternal life with Jesus. To the ones that were held back by their proud self-righteousness (the Pharisees) He asked other things. To the ones that were held back by their own definition of the resurrection (Mary and Martha), He asked other things.
So if you’re offended and why Jesus demands our money, maybe you need to check yourself. And if this parable is no big deal, look for the wonderful way that Jesus wants to draw you near. That’s all He wants to do.
He doesn’t need anybody’s money. He wants all of our love.
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