Summary: Jesus is confronted by a rich young man who wants to be His disciple.
A Young Man’s Question”
Third message in the series: “Conversations With Christ”
LET’S LOOK AT OUR TEXT:
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. "Good teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
18 "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-- except God alone.
19 You know the commandments: ’Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’"
20 "Teacher," he declared, "all these I have kept since I was a boy."
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
I have often thought this the most tragic of conversations Jesus
Just think about it…
How many people that you read about in the Gospels did Jesus personally invite to “Follow Him?”
There were not very many.
The ones who did are household names today.
We don’t know this young man’s name.
Here, we find young man being invited by the Son of God to “Follow Him” turning Him down.
Wow, knowing what we know today…that was a big mistake!
He walked away from the ride of a lifetime. He walked away from amazing possibilities.
The issue, apparently, was the part about selling everything he had and giving it to the poor.
I think most of us would have a problem with that too.
Jesus’ disciples had a problem with it. Look at the rest of the text:
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
24 The disciples were amazed (thambeo – stupified) at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25 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."
26 The disciples were even more (super-abundantly) amazed (thambeo - stupified), and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
I think Jesus’ guys thought he was a little hard on the kid
stupify: “to cause utter consternation”
consternation: “to alarm and dismay”
dismay: “to experience misgivings”
misgivings: “to anticipate failure”
I think the disciples heard Jesus require something of that young man that they were unwilling to do themselves.
Jesus knew where they were going with this so He adds:
27 Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
28 Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
Thank God for Peter with his bad case of Foot-in-mouth disease!
I think we can often identify with him when he would speak
up to Jesus.
It’s as though he is saying; “Good grief Jesus, what do you
want from us. Haven’t we all given enough to follow you?
Sometimes, for us, the call of Christ seems simply out of the question.
How could I possibly give up what He is asking me for?
Listen to the Lord’s response to Peter;
29 "I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel
30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-- and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
Jesus responds with a promise and what sounds like a riddle.
The promise implies that any sacrifice one would make in following Christ will pale in comparison to the blessings that will follow because of the sacrifices.
The mysterious statement “The first will be last and the last first” challenges the world system and introduces a kingdom value.
We live in a “me first” time.
“Me, myself and I” seems to occupy the thinking of most everyone around us.
A book whose title I will mention later offers these suggestions:
"Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use "I" as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily to what people say about you. Expect to be appreciated. Be suspicious. Be jealous and envious. Be sensitive to slights. Never forgive a criticism. Trust nobody but yourself. Insist on consideration and respect. Demand agreement with your own views on everything. Sulk if people are not grateful to you for favors shown them. Never forget a service you have rendered. Shirk your duties if you can. Do as little as possible for others." Oh, the title of the book; “How To Be Miserable”