17 As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. 19 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’ ”20 “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” 21 Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God!” 24 This amazed them. But Jesus said again, “Dear children, it is very hard to enter the Kingdom of God. 25 In fact, 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!” 26 The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked.27 Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.”28 Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow you,” he said.29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, 30 will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. 31 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
It’s here on the heels of the rich young rulers seeking and sorrow that thirdly we see:
- The Redeemers Response 23-31
- The Allegory 23-25
Jesus reveals the answer using an allegory, he says that its easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God. Trusting in self-effort for salvation is not just difficult it’s impossible. Jesus revelation that you can’t earn eternal life leads to:
- The Alarm VS 26
Christ’s allegory created so much concern that it caused His disciples to ask the question, “Who then can be saved?” The answer, it’s only possible with God. We can’t come to the Father through human effort, it’s not about trying but trusting. Either you are going to trust in God or turn from God. It’s here in the midst of the alarm that Christ gives them:
- The Assurance 27-31
- Regarding Redemption vs 27
It’s not about our good works it’s about God’s finished work on the cross of Calvary. Are you relying on self-effort or the Saviors? But Faith is more than fire insurance. Genuine Christianity is shown by the change Christ produces in your life. Real faith always results in fruit, and if there is no fruit you’re a fraud not a follower of Jesus Christ. True change consists of both an inward reality and outward results. Is your life distinguishable, and different from non-believers? Faith follows the Savior, not selfishness. So how has your faith affected your life?
- Regarding rewards Vs 28-31
Jesus tells us that follow him will result in a reward. Are you prepared to follow Jesus like he called the rich young ruler too? Are you willing to surrender the things you had been banking on for happiness and security? For the ruler, it was his riches that he was relying on. Money and material things were his God and Jesus is saying that He will not ride shotgun to our stuff. Jesus is seeking followers, not fans. He wants people to be converted, not convinced. It’s much easier to be an admirer than a follower. You can admire from a distance and be relatively unaffected, but followers have to forsake all. Jesus was calling him to a life of surrender and servanthood where Christ calls the shots because He is the One in charge. The issue was never about selling the stuff it was about submitting to His sovereignty. You can’t faithfully follow while your trust is tied to your treasure. Instead of a disciples heart, the rich young ruler had a divided heart. What about you are you suffering from the disease of a divided heart, a sickness that is stopping you from surrendering? In order to faithfully follow we have to take a step of faith and put our trust in Jesus instead of our treasures. But you will never tie your trust to Jesus while you are still tethered to trusting in your resources and riches. You will never faithfully follow as long as you have something else to fall back on. Jesus wants to free us from the fetters and the bondage that binds us. He wants to set us free from a life of slavery to one of service but we have to let go of the things that are holding our heart hostage. When the Bushmen of the Kalahari desert are searching for water they will cut a small hole in a giant termite mound and while a baboon is watching drop a few melon seeds into the hole. Eventually, the curious baboon will wonder over and reach inside to grab the seeds, it’s then that the bushman will rush over and capture the baboon because he refuses to let go of the seeds and while it holds onto the seeds its fist is too big to get back out of the hole. The bushman will then feed it salt until it is so hungry that once released it leads him to water. Here is a baboon that is willing to trade its life and freedom for a handful of seeds because it is unwilling to let go. How many of us are trading the true treasure for the temporary treasures? Many of us are like the baboon we are trading the Savior for a few seeds. Why tether yourself to the trash when you can trust in Jesus? Look Jesus goal isn’t to bankrupt us but to bless, you have a choice you can run after the temporary riches or the eternal rewards. You can hold onto the stuff and forfeit the Savior or you can let go of the trash and take hold of the real riches. Why don’t we follow because we have a faulty view of discipleship, we see discipleship as having to give up but Jesus sees it as gain. He reminds His disciples of the real riches and rewards. Today many of us are trying to find our security in self-effort and our stuff instead of in the Savior. Jesus invited this man to stop striving and start trusting. But the rich young ruler focused on what he would lose instead of on what he would gain. Don’t forget the end of the story, when we give up our stuff to serve the Savior we will receive far more in return. What is holding your heart hostage and preventing you from faithfully following? What stuff do you need to surrender so that you can be free to follow the Savior?