Monday, September 16, 2013


Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away.

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

Matthew 19:13-30 (ESV)

Normally I get these out on Sundays, but yesterday was just way too busy to get it done. This was largely due in part to an insect bite in my dog's eye. So here's my first ever Monday Scripture.

In this passage we see two kinds of people who come to Jesus. We see the children, who the disciples want to shoo away, and we see a rich young ruler. The children come to Jesus with nothing to offer, but only wanting to receive. This young man comes bearing his good deeds, but looking for something more to do. Of the children Jesus says, "to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." But of the rich man, Jesus says, "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God."

Matthew has set up a dichotomy of two religions. With the children we see a religion of grace. Jesus freely gives out his blessing and entrance into his kingdom. With the young man, we see a religion of works. This man is looking for a way he can earn entrance into the kingdom. Look at the question he asks. "What good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

Jesus points him to the ten commandments, but only the ones dealing with love of neighbor. The young ruler thinks he has fulfilled them all, yet he still has misgivings. He is still uncertain if he has attained entrance into the kingdom, so he asks, "What do I still lack?" Jesus tells him to give all he has to the poor and to follow him. This young man goes away sorrowful because he had great wealth. He cannot do what Jesus asks of him. Jesus has pointed out this man's great weakness, a love of money and possessions over a love for God. This rich man has broken the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me." (Exodus 20:3 - ESV)

But would you or I do any better than this young man? What do you put ahead of God? What would Jesus ask you to give up? All of us have some form of idolatry in our lives. It may be the love of money, but it could be love for a particular sin. We have all turned our backs on God and have chosen some type of self-worship.

The problem isn't that this man couldn't give up his wealth. The problem is that he came to Jesus looking to solve his own problems. He wanted to be self-reliant. This is the religion of works. It is asking the question, "What good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

The children have no good deeds to show Jesus. They are not looking to prove themselves to him. Instead they come looking for a blessing. They come needy, searching for a savior. Jesus gives them His blessings. He welcomes them into His kingdom. This is the religion of grace.

The religion of grace is where we see ourselves not as capable, but as helpless. It is where we look to the only one who is capable to save us. It is where we look to the cross. There we find one who is both fully man and fully God. He has taking the wrath of God upon himself as payment for our sins. His blood has been shed so that we can be made clean. He rose from the dead three days later, claiming victory. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of the Father. He is our advocate, defending us against any accusations that comes our way. This is the religion of grace. This is why the kingdom has to be inherited and not earned.

Do you believe this good news? Do you trust in Jesus alone for your salvation? If not, repent of your unbelief and believe this good news. You can inherit salvation today.

(If you would like to download an mp3 of the sermon I preached on Matthew 19:13-30, then click on this link.)

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