Tuesday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: St. Matthew 19:16-30 (NKJV)
16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, 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.” 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?” 28 So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
“With God all things are possible.” That little phrase is almost as abused by the world as “judge not, lest ye be judged” and “the truth shall set you free!”
What is possible? Even the salvation of the rich…even the salvation of the poor…even of those who have lived in open sin and shame…even of those whose neighbors would claim were morally just and upright. What is possible is that every sinner could have salvation, no matter how despicable or how civilly righteous he may appear to mankind, if only they are brought to confess that their works do not give it, not even their works of righteousness, but only God’s mercy, earned by Christ and given through the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:15)—that is, through Holy Baptism, which “doth now save us” (1 Pet.3:21), the application of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ to us, received by faith, which is God’s gift to us, created by the application of the Gospel.
The man who came to Jesus in today’s reading went beyond the Corinthians in yesterday’s: he did not even wrongly glory in his teachers, but in himself! He thought himself holy by means of his conduct, keeping all of the Commandments. Jesus shows him, though, that he has not kept the first: he has “another god,” his wealth. Jesus will not let Peter fall into a similar trap, but teaches him that whatever following Jesus might “cost,” the heavenly treasure to be received is far beyond it and will be given as God sees best.
Father, grant that our eyes may be fixed above, that we may endure all below, trusting in Your wisdom and grace in Jesus. Amen.