Lets take a look at a few more examples of Jesus’ attitude towards rich men.
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 SAKE, SHALL RECEIVE A HUNDREDFOLD, AND INHERIT ETERNAL LIFE.
30 “BUT MANY WHO ARE FIRST WILL BE LAST, AND THE LAST FIRST.
Let’s see if we can break down what Jesus is saying here.
First of all a man comes to him with a question.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
In other words…… This man wants to know what it will take to have a relationship with God.
Jesus tells him to obey the commandments.
First point to be drawn out…….in order to have a relationship with God……there is a certain level of obedience that is required towards certain things.
The man claimed that he had fulfilled these requirements……. (take note that this is indeed a possibility)
But the latter half of the requirements was what I found interesting.
“If you want to be perfect………sell all you have and give to the poor……and you will have treasure in heaven”
It would have been suspicious if Jesus had told him to sell all he had and give it to him….. as pastors generally do.
But his requirement was that he should give to the poor.
The man could not fulfill this requirement…….why?
Because he had great possessions.
There appears to be a bit of a problem with having great possessions.
Great possessions are not easy to let go of.
But in order to be perfect…….you have a choice.
You can choose to remain as you are with your great possessions
Or you can choose to give away these great possessions…… in order to gain treasure in heaven
A number of questions come to mind
Is it worth it?
Does an exchange of great possessions and treasure in heaven sound like a good bargain?
That’s a question only you can answer.
But Jesus made one thing clear.
It is “hard” for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
The analogy that Jesus used to describe just how hard it is, was a camel going through the eye of a needle.
You do the math.
A camel…….the eye of a sowing needle.
Saying it is a pretty tight fit is a slight understatement…….it is more or less impossible.
The disciples of Jesus were so shocked by this that they asked a question.
“Who then can be saved?”
Allow me to rephrase the question to put it more in perspective
If a rich man with great possessions cannot inherit eternal life……who then can be saved?
It’s a pretty graphic question…..especially considering the fact that in the world…… the rich are the ones who you would expect to be the first to obtain anything of value.
But it seems that the structure that Jesus presents is entirely different.
Jesus then threw something else into the equation.
“With men it is impossible…….but with God all things are possible”.
It appears as though the world cant do what he is asking them to.
The world wont give up great possessions in order to have a relationship with God.
Quite frankly……men would rather have great possessions……than know God.
But I am of the assumption that we are not trying to be like men.
We are not trying to be like the world.
Because when you have a relationship with God……. you start to see just how possible it is…… to sell all your great possessions……give it all to the poor……yet still live a good and healthy life.
You can be “in” the world…….but not “of” the world.
Ill end with the last statement that Jesus said.
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first”
The first in this world are the rich.
The last in this world are the poor.
Many of the rich will be last.
Many of the poor will be first.
The ways of God don’t seem to be the ways of men.
Maybe that’s the defining element that separates God from mankind.
Maybe if we had a better understanding of the ways of God.
We will be one step closer to actualizing a relationship.
To be continued…….