The Weekend Word

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33 Responses

  1. Jean says:

    “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

    This is the story of the Bible. It is the constant theme of the Bible. It is a theme that the vast majority of the American Church is ignorant of. It is an essential doctrine for a right understanding of God. It is personal to each one of us. And it will happen.

    Hannah’s Prayer:

    “The bows of the mighty men are broken,
    And those who stumbled are girded with strength.
    5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
    And the hungry have ceased to hunger.
    Even the barren has borne seven,
    And she who has many children has become feeble.”

    David’s Song of Deliverance:

    “You will save the humble people;
    But Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down.”

    The Song of Mary:

    “He has shown strength with His arm;
    He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    And exalted the lowly.
    53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
    And the rich He has sent away empty.”

    Unless the American church recovers this doctrine, she will never understand what is happening between the church and culture.

  2. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Whenever I teach through this passage I always like to ask my classes – including myself;
    If the guy had gone off and sold all of his stuff would Jesus then be satisfied with the guy?

    I always come to the conclusion of no he would not – Jesus would ratchet it up a notch.

    What say ya’ll?

  3. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    as to the first / last thing;
    What I learned in my transformation to Lutheran doctrine is that whenever you think you have Jesus, his saying, or his ways figured out – shake them up and turn them on their head and then you have what Jesus was teaching.

  4. Jean says:

    “I always come to the conclusion of no he would not – Jesus would ratchet it up a notch.”

    I will take Jesus at His word. The key clause for me is: “and come, follow me.” If the young man had done as Jesus said, he would have done so by faith, just as Peter, James and John left their fishing jobs to follow Jesus. I don’t read Jesus being insincere.

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I am leaving for the divine worship service and to teach my clas – but I will leave with this;

    At v.17 Jesus also told the guy how to ‘enter life’ (I am sure the same thing) – butwhen the guy said he had already accomplished that – ‘so let me in’, Jesus said not so fast buddy — now do this one.

  6. Duane Arnold says:

    #1 Jean

    You are correct in every sense. In America we’ve allowed the Gospel to become part and parcel of “American exceptionalism” through “prosperity”, “self-improvement”, “self-actualization”, etc. We’re less excited by self-denial…

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think to determine what Jesus would do with the Rich Young Man has to do with what I said in my commentary. If the man is looking for the law way to get into heaven, Jesus is going to give him a law answer — but none of us are allowed to do things to get into the kingdom.

    So what are the good deeds we can do to earn eternal life? Keep the law? Sell our possessions? Treat our mother in law nice? The obvious answer is that we cannot do anything and as long at the rich guy wants to do something, Jesus will keep giving him stuff to do until he returns one day and says “Lord have mercy on me, I cannot follow your commands to enter eternal life.”

    The difference with the disciples is they were not commanded to leave everything – but they just did it because that is what comes naturally to one who desires to follow Jesus.

    Two extra points – (1) did they really leave everything? When they were despondent over the death of Jesus we know that the fisher guys had their boats and nets to go back to. (2) as I pointed above, at least for Peter, he was still stuck in his own works pointing out how good he was for leaving everything behind.

  8. Jean says:

    Again we have the words of Scripture:

    “Then Peter said in reply, ‘See, WE HAVE LEFT EVERYTHING and followed you. What then will we have?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, YOU WHO HAVE FOLLOWED ME will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And EVERYONE WHO HAS LEFT HOUSES OR BROTHERS OR SISTERS OR FATHER OR MOTHER OR CHILDREN OR LANDS, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.’ ”

    Again, if the young man would have did what Jesus said and sold all his possessions and followed Jesus, it would have been because of faith in Jesus as the first cause of his obedience. Jesus would not have said, “oh you again; actually I was just kidding; whoops! Actually, I have ten other things you need to do first.” No, Jesus would have been true to His word.

  9. JoelG says:

    This has been a confusing passage for me. Thank you MLD for unpacking it here.

    Several years ago a small group I was in read through the book “Radical”. Most enjoyed the book and were convicted. However, right or wrong, it came across to me as saying now that Jesus has done everything for you, what are you going to do for Him? It made me angry.

    I must confess that the some confusion still lingers. Jesus does commend the disciples and others for following Him.

    So questions:

    But what does it mean literally to “follow him”?

    Does he require everyone to leave “houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.”?

    Is it possible to “follow Him” in our normal, mundane daily lives, in our vocations?

    Isn’t, when it’s all said and done, all we can do is ask the question the thief asks Jesus on the cross: to remember him each day? Is this following Jesus?

  10. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jesus was showing the rich dude that he cannot do good deeds of any kind (the original and only question being asked and answered) to earn his way to eternal life.

    If the response had been “Ok I sold everything”, the motivation would not have been faith at all as you propose but the quest and fulfillment to earn his own salvation.
    Selling our possessions is not a condition of salvation. Jesus had rich followers that has been given eternal life without selling their possessions.

    Compare this to the similar passage in Mark 10 where the question is laid out as ““Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” – what is required of an heir to inherit anything? Nothing.

    I am still confused why you don’t find it odd that Jesus reneged on his promise in verse 17?

  11. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I don’t know how our first cause is faith. You do not have faith unless you already have eternal life. “Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.”

    For this to work right, the rich guy would need to come to Jesus totally broken by the law commands and demands of Jesus. Come to Jesus with no hope of his own and say Jesus have mercy on me a sinner. Then Jesus provides that mercy, grace and faith to save the guy —- then he goes out and sells his goodies if that is still the command of Jesus.

  12. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    This is probably the problem with books like radical (or the 100s like them) if they make you say “what must I do?” or “what does it mean to follow?”

    Your following Jesus is Jesus’ work – not yours. Jesus is like a big magnet and he attracts followers. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

    If you belong to Jesus you know him and he knows you and you follow — you follow because he knows you.

  13. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Joel, one other thing – if you are not just naturally following Jesus, because Jesus made you a follower – no tactics or tricks you learn in a book will make you a follower.

  14. JoelG says:

    Thanks MLD. I’ve come to the conclusion that if faith is given to us, He will put whatever His Will in our lives right front of us, whether is “Radical” or not. We won’t have to look far. As you said, it will come naturally.

    Sometimes things get confusing in the evangelical world. 🙂

  15. Jean says:

    #10 and #11,

    1) Jesus was not reneging on his promise in verse 17, He was testing the young man to see if he was really serious. The young man got it, because he responded, “What do I still lack?” The young man understood there was more, and he wanted to Jesus to tell him.

    2) You are doing “template” theology. You don’t know what was in the young man’s mind prior to or during the meeting with Jesus. He might have been convicted by the Law, which caused him to come to Jesus. If you review back through the Gospels at how Jesus called disciples to follow Him, they did not all begin with a Law/Gospel sermon. That is not to say that those elements were not at play, but they are not all included in the narratives.

    I don’t know why you don’t think the young man could have sold his possessions as the response to faith.

  16. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “I don’t know why you don’t think the young man could have sold his possessions as the response to faith.”

    This is a problem we have. You are too busy making up terms like “template theology” and not reading what I write. Go back and re read what I said at the end of my #11. He would not sell everything and then come back and ask for the kingdom (that would be his works) – but if Jesus saved him and THEN he went out and sold everything – that would be by faith.

    You have Jesus saying ‘show me your faith in me by selling your stuff and I will save you.” How can you show a faith that comes only through Jesus initially? You have the cart before the horse.

    Template theology – I will need to put that in my laugh file. 🙂

  17. Jean says:

    I keep trying to refer you to Scripture, but you have a personal version you are sharing. You now write:

    “You have Jesus saying ‘show me your faith in me by selling your stuff and I will save you.”

    That’s not what Jesus said, check verse 21 for what Jesus actually said.

    Keep in mind that this whole debate has ensued because you attempted to put words in Jesus’ mouth by speculation.

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You have Jesus saying ‘show me your faith in me by selling your stuff and I will save you.”

    No, I said you (Jean) have Jesus saying that.

    You continually miss the point Jesus makes with this guy. The guy says to Jesus, I have kept all of your laws and commands, what else do I need to do — and Jesus drops the hammer on him – “If you would be perfect…” and there is the catch – if you are going to do it on your own, you must be perfect.(sermon on the mount kind of perfect.)

    There is nothing this guy can do to earn his salvation — even selling his goodies. Jesus had pushed him to the Law wall.

  19. Jean says:

    I did not miss the point. I know the point and Jesus told him the truth. And Jesus addressed a particular point for this individual which was a stumbling block. The issue you brought up was “when if the guy had done it; then what?” My point is that it would have taken the miracle of faith for this guy to have done it. Your point was that the guy could have done it without faith; then Jesus would have come up with something else instead of welcoming him, that that would make a liar out of Jesus. We are both speculating, which is regrettable, so I will end my participation in this issue, but at least I didn’t make Jesus a liar.

  20. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Your point was that the guy could have done it without faith;”

    Yep, we see it all the time – people going through all the ‘christian’ motions that they think they need to do to earn their salvation – and in their own minds they are sure that they are saved.

  21. Steve Wright says:

    I feel your pain, MLD. You post one little facebook comment for Trump and you lost your theological, “amen” buddy over here.

    At least you have Opening Day today to ease your pain. Everyone is in first place on Opening Day. 🙂

  22. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean and I fight like Jr high girls. All is cool.

    Go Blue! 🙂

  23. em ... again says:

    this is a good thread – confess i’ve only read half way and will/want to read all the thots here…
    that said, we’ve got a young man of privilege who is a little bit full of himself (probably in a sincere way) …
    “Lord, I’ve done my best (and better than most)…” i suspect he expected our Lord to say (as probably most did say to him), “why that’s wonderful, son; you’re such a good example!”…
    instead our Lord, saw the kid’s need and got straight to the heart of the matter, i.e., “you haven’t done enough.” perhaps, if this young man had said, “Oh, okay, Sir. I’ll sell my stuff, follow You. I’ll listen to what You teach and see what I’m still lacking.” that would have been a start… not that he’d sold his stuff, but that he’d changed his focus?
    Jean and MLD don’t fight, BTW – they wrestle and that’s a good thing, i think … dunno

  24. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    All I can say is that if that is the salvation transaction, then we should all be Roman Catholics or Mormons. You do your part first and then God will do his.

    Jesus is pushing this guy to his knees, and the guy won’t budge – it’s salvation on his terms or nothing and in the end he chose nothing. Jesus knows this guy – if Jesus were working to get this guy saved, the Jesus answer to the original question would have been “son, you can’t do anything – I am in the process of doing it all – follow me.”

    But as I said at the beginning, the guy asked and re asked law questions and Jesus kept giving him law answers.

  25. Jean says:

    “if Jesus were working to get this guy saved, the Jesus answer to the original question would have been….”

    Oy vey!

  26. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    What must I do to be saved? – fill in the blank.

  27. Jean says:


    I will interact with the pericope:

    If the young man would be perfect, Jesus requested 4 things from him:

    1. Sell his possessions;
    2. Give to the poor;
    3. Come; and
    4. Follow me.

    Application: “only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Who then can be saved?” “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

    This pericope relates back to Jesus’ prior teachings in Matthew regarding “no one can serve two masters” and the Parable of the Sower regarding the seed sown among the thorns, which choke by the deceitfulness of riches.

  28. Duane Arnold says:

    In the biography of St. Antony by Athanasius, it’s interesting to note that this passage (Matt. 19:16-30) is the one that caused Antony to enter the monastic life as a hermit. It has remained a singular passage for those called to the monastic life for the past 1600 years.

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    *Pops Popcorn. Pulls up a chair*

  30. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean, my contention from the beginning is that Jesus ups the ante. When the guy asked what must I do – Jesus gives his answer – follow the commandments. The guy asks for clarification and says which ones? So Jesus gives him a specific list – and the guy says Voila! I have done all of those.
    Jesus doesn’t challenge him, but Jesus doesn’t do anything – he does not say welcome to my kingdom. When the guy asks what do I still lack, he is saying let me in. In other words he is saying I have done it all, I have done all that you have asked me. (and that was all that Jesus asked him to do – but motivation is wrong.

    But Jesus ups it – you must be perfect. If you are going to do salvation on your own, you must be perfect. This guy would have gone out and sold his goods to prove himself perfect. I for one think that when he returned and showed Jesus his Goodwill receipt and the guy said OK, give me my Jesus jersey, that Jesus would have upped it again.

    We have seen these self made followers of Jesus throughout scriptures. The guys in John 6 – loved Jesus, loved what he provided and were following him – until he upped the ante – and they all left … some may have been saying “geez, I wish I had not sold my 60″ flat screen to get here.”

    but I will leave it – my commentary in the article speaks better for my position than my comments below the article.

  31. Jean says:


    You made this interpretive move: “When the guy asks what do I still lack, he is saying let me in.”

    Can you cite any reputable commentary for this interpretation?

    I interpret it in its plain sense (i.e., as a real question), and in agreement with R. T. France, who interprets the young man in verse 20 as meaning:

    “Is that all there is to it? He deserves credit for the perception that there is more to serving God, and therefore to finding eternal life, than merely conventional morality, even when it is directly based on the requirements of the OT law. His initial question was looking for something more searching, and he is not prepared to be fobbed off with such an elementary ethic. His is more spiritually adventurous than that.”

    I won’t belabor the issue further if you wish to end the discussion. You brought it up for discussion in your #2, but perhaps it has run its course.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I may even disagree with RT France at this point. Are you using his statement to support the idea that FIRST we serve God and then if done properly we will find salvation?
    “that there is more to serving God, and therefore to finding eternal life,”

    What ever happened to we were dead and made alive in Christ?. How in my ‘deadness’ do I serve God? (perhaps I serve a little g god) – My doctrine says God on his own saves us and in that salvation we find service to him.

    But as I said a Goodwill receipt is your entry ticket into heaven.

  33. Jean says:

    I was using France’s interpretation to support the sincerity of the question asked by the young man in contrast to your interpretation which I quoted in #31.

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