Prepare to Listen. Still your inner noises then pray: Turn my eyes from looking at vanities; give me life in your ways.
Prayerfully Read Luke 18:18-27
18A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ 19Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20You know the commandments: “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honour your father and mother.”’ 21He replied, ‘I have kept all these since my youth.’ 22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ 23But when he heard this, he became sad; for he was very rich. 24Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 26Those who heard it said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 27He replied, ‘What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.’
What must I do? Sounds rather like a question that we might ask today. We want to do the right stuff and earn, rather than inherit, God’s approval and Kingdom. The question, however, is contradictory. We can't do anything to inherit. An inheritance is given freely, not earned.
Jesus’ response to the ruler begins with a rebuke followed by five of the ten commandments. I suspect most of us could say with the ruler that we’ve kept all five since our youth. But it’s the ones Jesus omitted that are hard, especially having no other gods and not coveting. Instead of naming those commands, Jesus gave the ruler an opportunity to demonstrate his willingness to live them. If he didn’t worship another god (money) and didn’t covet, he’d have no problem following Jesus’ demand and giving it all up. He couldn’t do it.
And that’s when Jesus made another unacceptable claim: “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Wealth was, and still is presumed to be a sign of God’s blessing for good behavior. We therefore assume the wealthy are blessed and in. Not according to Jesus. That’s why, in earlier teaching, he pronounced a “woe” on the rich (Lk 6:24). It’s so hard for them to fully trust God and inherit the kingdom. When his audience protested Jesus’ shocking teaching, he claimed, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.” It’s hard, but not impossible.
Where is your trust?
Respond to Jesus
Your demands are shocking, Lord and impossible for me to keep. Thank you that, what’s impossible for me, is possible with God. Amen.
Live obediently. Trust the One for whom all things are possible.
I began reading my Bible when I was 8 years old. I loved it then (albeit didn't understand much) and I still love reading and studying it. I may understand a little more but I keep learning new stuff, seeing things I missed for years. This journey with Luke during Lent has been another new learning experience for me, deepening my relationship with Jesus. I pray it will do the same for you.