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  • Gwen Diaz

261 - A Rich, Young Ruler

As Jesus began traveling toward Jerusalem for the last time, one of Israel’s young rulers ran up to him. He fell on his knees in front of Jesus and said, “Good teacher, what must I do to have eternal life?” Jesus responded, “Why do you call me good? No one is good—except God!” Jesus may have paused to allow the young man to think through the crucial significance of the descriptive adjective he had just used. Then Jesus went on, “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” “I have kept all of these since I was a boy,” the ruler replied. Jesus looked at him with love in his heart. “There is only one thing left that you need to do,” he told the young man. “Go and sell everything that you have and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. After you have done this, come and follow me.” The young man became very sad. He was extremely wealthy, and he didn’t want to even consider giving up the things that he owned. Without saying another word, he turned and walked away. When he was gone, Jesus spoke to his disciples. “It is so hard for rich people to enter the kingdom of God!” he exclaimed. “It is actually easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were perplexed. “That’s impossible! But if it’s true, who can be saved?” they wanted to know. Jesus replied, “With man this is impossible, but not with God. All things are possible with God. Jesus was not implying that it is wrong or a curse for anyone to be rich—or that God accepts or rejects people based on their financial status. Abraham was a very wealthy man when God called him to be the father of His new nation (see #8 - January 8). And God helped King Solomon gain extravagant wealth (see #124 - May 4). Jesus was saying that wealth often gains control over a person’s mind and becomes their master. And once someone is enslaved by money, it is very difficult to break free. Eventually, Solomon fell into this trap (see #126 - May 6 and #127 - May 7). Unfortunately, it had already happened to the rich, young ruler. He was not willing to relinquish his wealth to follow Jesus. The disciples thought through what Jesus had just said. Soon Peter spoke up for the rest of them, “We left everything to follow you. Will we receive treasure for this?” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “When I sit on my glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on 12 thrones and you will judge the 12 tribes of Israel. Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for my sake and the sake of the Gospel will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. You will notice that many who think they are first here on earth will be last when it comes to heaven. And many who are last now, will be first in heaven.

Is there something (or someone) in your life that is keeping you from whole-heartedly following Jesus? Will whatever is getting in the way of such a commitment still seem valuable when you are standing in front of God’s throne?

261 - A Rich, Young Ruler
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