The Weekend Word
The Rich Young Man
And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
- What is wrong with asking this question?
- Eternal life is a gift – so the question is wrong – it is a confusion of the law & the gospel.
- You don’t do anything for a gift – otherwise it becomes a wage.
- Romans 11:5-6 Paul writes “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.”
17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”
- So why does Jesus tell him to keep the commandments if it is by grace?
- So, if you ask Jesus the question this way, Jesus is going to answer as he does. Follow the commandments
- Our old Adam hears this “keep the commandments” and say “I can do that.”
- We hear and react the same way.
18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
- He says – Jesus, please be specific so I can put these on a flow chart and get to work.
19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
- Not that he list what are often called Jesus’ 6 commandments – the 2nd table of the law
- The How to Act with Your Neighbor commands.
20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”
- No problem Lord – I’ve done all that, and twice on Sunday. So what am I still lacking?
- So this is where Jesus will ratchet it up a notch.
21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
- Jesus will now test him with the 1st table of the law.
- OK then, be perfect like my Father in heaven is perfect – Matt 5:48
- Jesus is making the point that you cannot do these things – you cannot keep the commandments etc – you can only trust in him.
- Will this guy hear “love and trust in Christ Jesus only above all things”? Do we?
- So here do this = follow me = the deny yourself and follow me stuff.
22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
- Why wasn’t his reaction to Jesus “thanks Jesus, let me go work on this” – even though it would still be works and not fully trusting in Jesus, it would match his quest.
- No, this has been an idol he worshipped – and in the language of departing he walks far away from Jesus.
23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.
- Making you possessions an idol will keep you out of the kingdom.
- Matt 6:19-21 -“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
- Matt 6:24 – “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
- 1 Tim 6:9-10 – But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.
24 Again I tell you, 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.”
- Whatever this passage meant to the people back then, let’s just say that people with wealth are going to have difficulty putting that wealth in a proper perspective.
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
- Notice that the words of Jesus are always bashing in on the ears of the disciples. They can’t hardly handle the words.
- Who then???
26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
- Here’s the point — man cannot save himself. When God says something is impossible, you can take it to the bank.
27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
- Uh Oh! We have seen the perils of possession in the Rich Young man and now we will see the same in Peter.
- Peter’s question shows the same – neither will trust in Jesus alone – the rich guy won’t trust Jesus, he will trust his possessions and Peter is hedging his bet on Jesus AND trusting in his renunciation of his possessions.
28 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.
- When Jesus says ‘truly’ he means, this is the truth and you can take it to the bank.
- ‘In the new world’- at the time of regeneration of all things. At the time of the recreation
- The NET Bible (as well as the KJV say it very well – “Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth: In the age when all things are renewed, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
- This is not the Millennium, where some claim Jesus will sit on David’s throne – no, Jesus will sit on his own glorious throne.
- Who rules with Jesus? Those who follow him.
29 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.
- What is a hundredfold? It doesn’t matter – it means that we shall receive everything. A hundred fold is our eternal gain.
- What is it we get? We inherit eternal life. How is that for a reward?
- How do we get this? We must give up this world.
30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
- This can mean so much – but let’s just say that Jesus does not do things the way we would, the way we expect or in the timing we expect.