Summary: Four incidents in Jesus life give Him a chance to teach about the Kingdom of God.
Kingdom & King
Intro: This section of Luke’s gospel gives us insights into Jesus’ kingdom and His role as king. As we see Jesus react to four different situations, we see that the driving focus of His teaching is the Kingdom of God.
I. Let the little children come to me (Luke 18:15-17)
A. It was common for people to bring their children to religious leaders to receive a blessing. (Compare with people taking babies to see politicians)
B. The disciples wanted to protect Jesus from this "nuisance." They thought that an important man like Jesus would not have time for unimportant people like children.
C. Jesus showed his disciples that the very ones that the world sees as unimportant, He sees as important.
D. He also taught that we must become like children to enter the Kingdom of God.
1. When someone asks what they need to do to be saved, do we mention becoming like a child?
2. I see in my children this model of absolute trust and the absence of a "works mentality." They never come and say, "Dad, we think we deserve supper today. We’ve been good." They expect me to provide because I am their father. In the same way, we don’t have to earn God’s grace. It is a free gift.
II. How hard it is to enter the kingdom (Luke 18:18-30)
A. The ruler who came to see Jesus had a works mentality, not a childlike mentality.
B. Jesus saw through this and reminded him at the very start that only God is truly good, that nobody else can lay claim to righteousness on their own merit.
C. When the man still professed righteousness, Jesus asked him to give up his idols, to give up his riches. The man left very sad.
D. Jesus then taught something that is hard to accept: It’s harder for the rich to enter the kingdom.
1. The Jews didn’t agree. They taught that the rich were rich because of their righteousness. Riches were a sign of God’s blessing.
2. We try to soften Jesus’ words. We teach that "the eye of a needle" was a gate going into Jerusalem or a narrow waterway. But if you notice, Jesus, in verse 27, refers to it as something "impossible." We need to take Jesus’ words at face value.
3. We need to warn people that riches make our entrance into the kingdom more difficult. Yes, you can seek God and find riches. But you can’t seek riches and find God. At least not easily.
E. We all need to remember that it is impossible to enter the kingdom without God’s help. Rich, poor, wise or foolish, we all need God’s help to enter the kingdom.
F. We also need to remember that there are earthly blessings for those who sacrifice now. (vss. 29-30) I have seen this in my own life. Having given up family and friends to enter the mission field, I have found a larger family than I ever could have dreamed of. I have traveled extensively, being received in the homes of strangers who received me as if I were a long lost son.
III. The king and His mission (Luke 18:31-34)
A. Jesus now teaches His disciples that sacrifice and suffering are at the heart of His mission.
B. The disciples need to see that it is only right that they give things up in the face of all that Jesus gave up.