The Invitation - Day 4

Luke 18: 18-30

18 Once, a religious leader asked Jesus this question: “Good Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “Only God is truly good. 20 But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother.]”

21 The man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.”
22 When Jesus heard his answer, he said, “There is still one thing you haven’t done. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
23 But when the man heard this, he became very sad, for he was wealthy.

24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “How hard it is for the rich 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 Those who heard this said, “Then who in the world can be saved?”
27 He replied, “What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
28 Peter said, “We’ve left our homes to follow you.”
29 “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the Kingdom of God, 30 will be repaid many times over in this life, and will have eternal life in the world to come.”

There is so much happening here; let’s jump right in! 
This Jewish civil administrator interrupted Jesus with a question. This question centered on a difference of thought between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Because the Sadducees only believed in the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah, they did not believe in resurrection. However, the Pharisees took in all of the Old Testament, Law, Wisdom, and Prophets, so they did believe in resurrection, citing Daniel 12:2 as to why. 
Whether this man was trying to get Jesus to take sides or looking for his hope, we don’t know, but Jesus calls him out on something else right from the beginning. 

You see, the man had called Jesus “Good Teacher.” While this was a pleasantry, he used the term “good,” something that was only really ascribed to God. So Jesus calls him out on it, making it public that this man had connected Jesus to God by using that name. The author, Luke, probably assumed that his audience would see the connection for themselves, whether the man was making that connection on purpose or not. 

Then Jesus answers the question for the man by telling him to keep the commandments. This is something that the man would have strived to do his entire life. Because Jesus quoted from the Torah, he was speaking this Sadducees language! 

But Jesus goes one step further and reminds the man to get rid of his possessions and follow God. However, this man must have been rich as Jesus pushed back on how hard it is for a man of means to get to heaven. He likens it to getting a camel through the eye of a needle. Seems impossible. 

Jesus then reminds us that nothing is impossible with God, but there is something of a personal sacrifice that is important to recognize and understand. Jesus also speaks of the reward for those who follow these commandments and sacrifice for God. 

You can see that Peter was pretty upset, but Jesus calmed his fears and said there would be a great reward in heaven for their sacrifices for the kingdom of God. 
So what is the point here? Some items are worth mentioning: 1) Jesus speaks of eternal life here as he answers Peter’s inquiry about their sacrifice. 2)He also gives a deep sense of peace to those listening as he reminds them that God saves rather than the work they do here on earth. 

If you are going to use this pericope (a portion of scripture) to teach someone about resurrection, be sure to remind them that it is Jesus who saves, and our lives–those sacrifices that are asked of us–are responses to the amazing grace that God has given us!

  1. Are you rich? Does it make it harder to believe and to follow Christ? 
  2. What does being rich mean to you? 
  3. How can we be sure we are making the sacrifices Jesus asks of us? 
  4. Should those sacrifices be evident for all to see? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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