What Can We Learn from the Rich Man Story?
And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. (Jesus tells this ruler none are good except God? Jesus is challenging this ruler's concept of "good." Jesus also gives this ruler a chance to claim Jesus as the Son of God.)
Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. (Jesus is asking the ruler if he has kept the commandments. This allows the ruler to verbalize that he is not keeping these commandments. Jesus commented on adultery in Matthew 5:27-28, "Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Does this put a different light on the commandment? Jesus commented on murder in Matthew 5:21-22, "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Does this bring more clarity on murder/killing?) (By now, we, including this ruler, should understand that we have all failed to keep them.)
And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. (This ruler's answer tells Jesus he does not know how broken he is.)
Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. (Jesus wants this ruler to understand that putting anything between himself and Jesus will prevent him from following Jesus, which means he will not enter eternal life.)
And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (This ruler feels he cannot willingly remove the addiction preventing him from entering the kingdom, and thus, feels lost.)
And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! (Money is one of those addictions we need help with if we are going to step away from it before it becomes a stumbling block on the road to Jesus.) (Jesus tells us about money in Matthew 6:24, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.") (Does this mean rich people cannot get into heaven? This cannot be the message: Abraham was rich, David was rich, Job was rich, etc. Money is not evil. However, how we use it and how some allow it to become a stumbling block is evil. It means we cannot put anything, including money, before God. This is the first Commandment God gave to Moses, Exodus 20:3, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me.")
For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (Jesus uses hyperbole to emphasize how potent the addiction to money is.)
And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? (If the rich rulers cannot be saved, who can?)
And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. (Anyone who repents and accepts Jesus as their savior.)
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