In my last post, I talked about the rich, young, ruler who came to Jesus. He wanted a deeper walk with God. The Lord told him his next step – selling everything and becoming a disciple.
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, 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.”
Luke 18:23-25 NIV
Jesus comments to the disciples that it’s very hard for the rich to come under the rulership of God. The word, hard, in this verse, means a picky, finicky eater. It’s someone who’s very hard to please.
Someone with great wealth usually is used to getting their own way. They want to set the terms of their service. In the kingdom, it has to be done God’s way.
Remember, this encounter comes right on the heels of Jesus talking about entering the kingdom as an infant. You have to start over. You can’t come to the Lord thinking that you’re an asset to His kingdom. We have nothing to offer Him, He has everything.
In my last post, I started to talk about the difference between salvation and the kingdom of God. The kingdom is the place of obedience, blessing, and fulfillment. There are many who have received salvation but have yet to walk in the fullness of Christ.
For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:20 NIV
This is an important statement for us to hear. No one can deny that the Pharisees and teachers of the Law followed the Law of Moses to the letter. They did everything according to the teaching of Scripture.
By that definition, before the resurrection of Christ, they were saved and on their way to heaven. Yet, Christ clearly said that they didn’t enter the kingdom. That’s because they never submitted themselves to God’s way of doing things.
They were missing out on God’s best for them. Of course, if they continued on this path after the resurrection – rejecting Christ as Messiah – they no longer had a place in God’s family. That’s because they would have rejected salvation under God’s New Covenant.
As Jesus spoke of the kingdom, the disciples didn’t understand these principles.
Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.”
Luke 18:26-27 NIV
Jesus makes it clear that it’s not impossible for the rich to enter the kingdom. The power of God is able to change a life. But that person must be willing to let the Holy Spirit do His work in them.
At that point Peter interrupts.
Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”
Luke 18:28 NIV
As usual with Peter, I think he was looking for some praise from Jesus. Unfortunately, what he said wasn’t that accurate. We know from Scripture that Peter didn’t leave everything to follow Jesus. After the death of Christ, Peter was able to go back to his fishing business (John 21:1-3).
Jesus was very gracious to him. He ignores the untruth.
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.”
Luke 18:29-30 NIV
The Lord summarizes everything here. If you give up all for the kingdom, you receive the kingdom blessing. On top of that, you get the eternal blessings as well.
It’s a great deal. We give up the temporary to gain the eternal.
Question: How have you placed everything into God’s hands?
© 2022 Nick Zaccardi