There are some days more than others I’d like to sell all our stuff and give it to the poor.
- V16 – This fellow wants to earn his way to heaven!
◊ Do I try to earn my way to heaven? Do I make other’s feel like they have to earn their way to heaven?
- V17 – Jesus answers a “what” question with a “who” answer. Only God is good. Since only God is good, you can’t “earn” eternal life by being good.
- V18 – Only one of my Bible’s uses the words “eternal life” in Jesus’ response. The other 2 just say “life.” Jesus isn’t giving the man a way to earn his way to heaven – we know from other scriptures that’s impossible (Ephesians 2:8-9) – but He is telling him how to live kingdom life on earth. Anyway, His answer, “Keep the commandments”, is a trick answer because that’s impossible. Only God is good. We’re sinners and it is only by God’s grace and through His strength and Spirit that we can live up to His standards which are impossibly high. (See Setting The Bar.)
- V18 – What a hilarious question! He’s essentially asking “Which laws are the important ones and which ones can I ignore?” On the other hand, if he’s aware of how many laws the Pharisees have added…maybe it’s a legitimate question.
◊ Do I like to pick and choose which bits of God’s law I prefer to obey?
- V18-19 – Jesus chooses an interesting selection of commandments: the last 5 of the 10 Commandments and the second of the 2 greatest commandments. Noticeably missing are the ones about loving God.
- V20 – The man thinks he’s kept all these commandments. Given Jesus’ previous clarification (Matthew 5:21-48), that’s doubtful. But he still knows he’s lacking something. Why? Unless instead of thinking he’s lacking something, he’s coming to Jesus like I came to my mom when I was 12 checking chores off a list after spending approximately 90 seconds on each one and asking for more since I was trying to rake in the moolah.
◊ Am I haughty and prideful, thinking I can check off my list of commandments I’ve kept, or humble. Makes me think of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
- V21 – Jesus knew the man was outwardly obeying the laws but inwardly worshipping his money and status. He reminds him that there is eternal reward worth pursuing over his earthly wealth. Then He answers the man’s original question (What good thing must I do to have eternal life?) with “Come, follow me.”
◊ Is there something I am worshipping above God?
- “Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect…” (the man leans in eagerly – “He’s going to reveal the secret to human perfection!” he thinks.) “Go and sell…” (His face falls, shoulders droop, head hangs down. Apparently, perfection is unattainable.) BTW, “perfect” in this verse means whole, complete – not sinless.
◊ What am I reluctant to give up? (See the story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis 22:1-18 for an interesting OT connection to this story.)
- V22 – He didn’t consider the reward worth the cost. (Ice Cream Houses.) He was sad because he knew he had to choose to give something up: eternal life or his worship of worldly wealth. Unfortunately, he picked the thing that was not going to last.
◊ Is the reward worth the cost? Am I paying the cost (giving up all to follow Christ) or am I trying to get into heaven on a discount without offering every bit of my self/life to God?
- V23-24 – That does sound difficult! The more we have, the more we must give up. The more we have, the easier it is to rely on self rather than God.
- V25 – My ESV says “Wealth was often equated with God’s favor and blessing. Deuteronomy 28:1-14.”
- V26 – AWESOME! In Luke 19:1-10 Luke follows this story up with the story of the conversion of Zacchaeus, proving that God can change anyone’s heart, even the very rich.
◊ Do I believe this and pray for those I think are “beyond hope” like I believe it?
- V26 – I love the Message translation of this verse: Jesus looked hard at them and said, “No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.”
- V27 – Peter’s still about the wrong bottom line.
◊ Am I more concerned about what’s in it for me or how can I bring God glory?
- V28 – Jesus ignores Peter’s selfishness (for now – He’ll address it in chapter 20) and encourages him and appreciates his sacrifice with an amazing promise of heavenly reward.
◊ Thank You Jesus for Your grace and for accepting our sacrifices, mixed motives and all!
- V29 – There is promise of great reward for everyone who leaves what is dearest to them to follow Jesus. “Inherit” is a family term for those losing earthly family, but gaining kingdom of heaven family.
- V30 – I wonder if this was aimed at Peter. He’s going to go into this in greater depth in the next chapter.
◊ Am I trying to be first (a leader, top of the pile, most noticed and important) or last (a servant, not above anyone, the least)?
Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:
- Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
- What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
- Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
- What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
- What do these verses move me to pray for myself?