Reading: Matthew 19: 14-30
Blanks: good, good, perfect, follow, easier, possible, first, first
(1) There was a rich young man.
This young man was a good boy.
He obeyed God’s law.
He respected his parents.
He gave one tenth of his income to God.
He gave his money to the poor.
But this young man wanted to be more perfect in God.
He felt there was something more.
So, the young man came to Jesus to find out about it.
He asked Jesus:
“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you question me about what’s good?
God is the One who is good.
So, if you want to enter the life of God, just do what God tells you.”
The man asked:
“What in particular?”
Don’t commit adultery.
Honor your father and mother.
Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
The young man smiled and said:
“I have done all that.
Then Jesus loved this young man and said:
“Perfect! Then go sell your possessions.
Give everything to the poor.
All your wealth will be then in heaven.
Then come follow me.”
(2) Let me translate what Jesus said.
Jesus was saying:
“When you sell your possessions and give to the poor, you will have savings, treasure in heaven.
Then you can come and follow me.
I will show you how to live a perfect life.
Don’t be afraid.
Live like me.
I am here to show my life and teach through my life.
I am sent to live a perfect life and give my life to the world.
You know, God wants you to have this life.
God wants to give you this life.
Because then God can do something great through you!
And in this way, you can give your heart to God perfectly.”
This man asks Jesus to give him some rules to live by.
But Jesus asks him to follow his way of living.
Here Jesus asks everything, because Jesus gives everything and because Jesus can give everything.
(3) But that was the last thing the young man expected to hear.
This young rich man was not prepared to live the life of Jesus.
This young rich man couldn’t imagine leaving without his stuff.
So, being overwhelmed, he walked away.
He was holding on tight to a lot of things.
He couldn’t bear to let go.
He couldn’t give everything to the poor.
He thought he needed his stuff to live a respectful life.
He needed his stuff to live a holy life.
He couldn’t imagine living a “holy” life without them.
But Jesus was inviting him to see true holiness.
But this rich man worried thinking: “what if people look down on me, when I give everything away and follow Jesus?”
(5) So, watching him go, Jesus told his disciples:
“Do you have any idea how difficult it is for the rich person to enter God’s kingdom?
Let me tell you.
It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for the rich man to enter God’s kingdom.”
(5) It is like this:
Let’s watch this video:
It is a funny expression of a camel going through a needle’s eye and rich people couldn’t go through because of all the money they had.
When Jesus explained like this, the disciples were surprised.
So they asked:
“Then who has any chance at all?”
(7) Then Jesus looked at them and said:
“No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself.
But you have every chance in the world if you trust God to do this.”
Then Peter interrupted:
“We left everything and followed you.
What do we get out of this?”
“Yes, you have followed me.
So, in the re-creation of the world, when I rule gloriously, you who have followed me will also rule, starting with the twelve tribes of Israel.
And not only you, but anyone who sacrifices home, family, fields and whatever because of me will get it all back a hundred times over, not to mention the considerable bonus of eternal life.”
I don’t know what these words of Jesus mean to you.
But it is something to think about.
Sometimes, because we have things, or because we have a desire, we might not be able to follow Jesus.
We might not be able to do what Jesus wants us to do, because we have things or degrees that hinder us to follow God.
When that happens, we might need to make a decision about what to do.
(9) Jesus also said:
“There is the Great Reversal.
Many of the first might end up last.
The last may end up first!”
What does it mean?
For example, it may mean like this.
There was a person.
He might have sold everything to follow Jesus.
But it was difficult to live without them he things.
Then after ten or twenty years, he might end up with more things.
He might love things more than God.
Then he might become the last.
He was the first but became the last.
It is something to think about it.
(7) Now let’s imagine:
What would happen if this young man went home?
He might have remembered what Jesus said.
He still wanted to be perfect.
So, he might have looked at his stuff.
(1) He might have looked at his two iPad mini.
(2) He might have looked at his toys.
He might have looked at his train.
(4) He might have looked at his lego house.
Then remembering what Jesus said, he might have tried not to buy any more stuff.
Then he might have tried to sell some of them.
In the beginning, it might have been very difficult.
But selling his stuff, he might have learned to live with very few things.
(6) Then, he might try to find those who need his money.
Then he might have found a nice way to give to the poor.
He might have realized some good ways to use this money for the poor.
Then as he gives his money, he finds his calling in God.
His mind becomes clear.
He finds God in his heart.
He learns about God.
He understands Jesus.
Then as he seeks a higher purpose in life, he learns to live a truly “holy” and perfect life in God.
His inward eye can see.
The voice of his own soul will say “This was what I was looking for in this life.
(9) Then following Jesus, he might have understood eternal life and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Then he might have been able to share with others how to live a holy life.
Then he might have lived a perfect life for God with a right attitude toward everything in life.
(10) Jesus left everything to follow God.
Through his life, Jesus showed how to follow God.
Jesus was sure that the most holy life is to live like him.
Let’s think about what it means to our lives.
And let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to follow you in the way that you want us to follow you. In your name, we pray. Amen.