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.”
Luke 18:26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?”
Luke 18:27 But he said, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”
Luke 18:28 And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.”
Luke 18:29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God,
Luke 18:30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
This whole conversation is awesome.
When Jesus says “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God,” He says it so that rich man and the others around Him can hear it. He says it so that maybe Mr. Rich will go consider the lives of his friends and talk to them. Are they all trying to get eternal life? Is it really so hard?
The reaction to those that heard the expression about the camel thought it was. The camel and the eye of the needle didn’t lead them to consider the expression, it cut directly to hopelessness.
“Then who can be saved?”
If not the rich, then who? Rich is relative. The man with no shoes is envied by the man with no socks. The man with no socks is envied by the man with no feet.
The disciples were alarmed at this too. For their whole lives (and for ours too), we have learned culturally that the rich and successful also carry about them some kind of righteousness. Like they did it right and they are approved by God or the Universe or something.
That’s why we give celebrities authority in the sciences, or billionaires authority in culture. It’s subtle, but we find rich people to be more believable than say, that guy walking from the parking lot with a cooler for a lunch box.
But Jesus lays it out plainly. Salvation is only found in God. Riches aren’t a ticket and neither is self-righteousness. He is everything. Our only hope is to follow Him with everything we’ve got. All in.
I promise you that this is true. In giving up our own pursuits for glory, we receive so much more from God in terms of depth of life, understanding, joy, hope, and more.
Make Jesus your all in all, and watch the fullness and depth of life He brings. You might not look like a rich man, but that’s partially the point.
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