Tuesday after the Twenty-Third Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Posted on November 6, 2018 byunder
Scripture: St. Matthew 19:16-30 (NKJV)
19:16 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.”
“What good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” the rich man asked Jesus. It was a “law” question. So Jesus gave him a “law” answer. “Keep the commandments!” Simple, right? The man thought he had done that already. It was too easy. There must be something more he can do.
Jesus’ answer is striking: Give up everything you have and follow Me! Then you will have treasure in heaven! Monasteries came into existence because of these words. For centuries monks have taken vows of poverty, abandoning their families, giving away their possessions in order to earn heaven, thinking they were obeying Jesus’ advice in today’s lesson.
The problem is, the monks never gave away enough. They held onto the same thing that the rich man refused to abandon: the desire to save themselves by doing something good. That’s the first thing that has to go if a person wants to inherit eternal life, which God gives away freely through faith in Christ, apart from our good deeds.
Jesus does call on His followers to let go of everything. That may not mean actually parting with everything. But it does mean being ready to give up whatever comes between you and Him: wealth, property, reputation, friends, family, even your own self. But in giving up everything on Earth, we gain far more, even great rewards in Heaven. As Paul reminded us in yesterday’s lesson, “All things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s” (1 Cor. 3:21-23).
We pray: Father in Heaven, guard us by Your Spirit from clinging to anything in this world that would keep us away from Christ our Savior. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.