God’s Life-Giving Word of Wisdom
Matthew 19:16-30: A rich man approaches Jesus, inquiring what he must do to receive eternal life. Jesus’s response to him causes him to be sad and walk away.
[Jesus said:] “This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible.”
The Rich Young Man
(Mark 10.17-31; Luke 18.18-30)
16Once a man came to Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what good thing must I do to receive eternal life?”
17“Why do you ask me concerning what is good?” answered Jesus. “There is only One who is good. Keep the commandments if you want to enter life.”
18 “What commandments?” he asked.
Jesus answered, “Do not commit murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; 19 respect your father and your mother; and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
20“I have obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else do I need to do?”
21Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.”
22When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he was very rich.
23Jesus then said to his disciples, “I assure you: it will be very hard for rich people to enter the Kingdom of heaven. 24I repeat: it is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
25When the disciples heard this, they were completely amazed. “Who, then, can be saved?” they asked.
26Jesus looked straight at them and answered, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible.”
27Then Peter spoke up. “Look,” he said, “we have left everything and followed you. What will we have?”
28 Jesus said to them, “You can be sure that when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne in the New Age, then you twelve followers of mine will also sit on thrones, to rule the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake, will receive a hundred times more and will be given eternal life. 30 But many who now are first will be last, and many who now are last will be first.
The rich young man in today’s reading was most likely someone who possessed not only wealth, but also power and status. It may be that he gained his wealth through taxes, interest, etc. that caused others to remain poor. Why did the rich young man go away sad? Reread verses 23-30. What do you think it means to follow Jesus?
Lord Jesus, I want to be your disciple and to serve you. Teach me to be obedient to your will and to obey your commandments. Open my eyes and heart to the needs of others. In your holy name, I pray. Amen.
Those enrolled in discipleship classes
Matthew 22:1-22: Jesus uses another parable to teach about the Kingdom of heaven.