Questions for Littles: Whom did the man in v17 call “Good Teacher”? What does Jesus ask Him in v18? What is Jesus’ answer, in v19, for what to “do” to inherit eternal life? How long does the man say that he has done these things (v20)? What does Jesus tell him is the one thing left to do in v21? How does the man feel when he hears this, and what does he do (v22)? Why is he so sad? What does Jesus say is hard (v23)? What does Jesus say that people like this man trust in, in v24 (NKJV)? What does He say is easier than for a rich man to enter the kingdom (v25)? What, then, do the disciples ask in v26? With whom does Jesus say it is possible (v27)? Whom does Peter think have done better than the rich man (v28)? What does Jesus assure Peter, now in this time, about the things that he thought he had given up (v29-30)? What else do we receive in this life? What do we receive in the age to come? What surprise does Jesus predict in v31?In the Gospel reading this week, we have two interesting examples of those who think that they can do something to inherit eternal life.
The first is obvious: the man who thought he had kept all of God’s commandments from his childhood. At least that’s what he said. But, he’s here asking Jesus, so it’s obvious he’s missing something.
The great thing that he is missing is that Jesus is God, become a man, to save us from our sins. When Jesus said that “only God is good,” He was showing that the rich young man didn’t think that Jesus was God.
It’s interesting that the man does not seem so bothered by the instruction to “take up the cross.” Since Jesus had not yet been crucified, this seems like it would be the most startling command! Instead, the man is sad because of his many possessions.
Oh, let us beware of how we fall in love with earthly things, comforts, and pleasures! Let us constantly be mindful of Christ’s surpassing value, that we would cling to Him so tightly that we hold only comparatively loosely any other thing!
Then, there’s Peter, making the same mistake. He thinks that he will be praised for having outdone the rich man. Jesus’s answer is that Peter really hasn’t given up anything. In fact, he has enriched himself 100 times over by clinging to Christ!
Yes, there is one sense in which he has sacrificed. But the sacrifice itself is great gain. Even being persecuted is a privilege that is granted. Christianity is not “giving stuff up now to get stuff later.” Christianity is being 100 times more blessed now, and infinitely more in the next life!
To have Christ is to have every good thing. We do not do Him good. He does every good for us, and to us, and through us. He alone is good. Let us cling to Him!
What does it look like to cling to Christ instead of ideas of your own goodness?Suggested songs: ARP32A “What Blessedness” or HB271 “Rock of Ages”