June 21

Text: Matthew 19:23-26

And Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."  And when the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, "Then who can be saved?"  And looking upon them Jesus said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NASB)

Complications!  You think you fully grasp a thought that to you is quite simple.  Only to discover that you do not grasp the thought and it is not simple.  Do you give up, or do you re-educate yourself?

To second generation Israelites, an elderly Moses revealed God’s promise.  Obey God be blessed materially; disobey God and be materially cursed (see Deuteronomy 28).  That seems simple!  If you are not materially secure, you are not following God.  Thus, if you are a struggling Israelite, look for the evil.

Then Jesus said it was difficult to-the-point-of-impossibility for the rich to enter God’s kingdom.  First was the confusing discussion about divorce, then blessing the children, then rejecting the man who had a lot, and now this statement!  What is going on?

Marriage without divorce?  Blessing children?  Grieving a rich person?  The difficulty of the wealthy being saved?   Unthinkable!  “If this is true, who can be saved?”

Jesus knew that their understanding was jumbled up like a stubborn saltshaker.  In their confusion, Jesus gave this reassurance: God can do the impossible.

Note: (1) We rarely understand how repulsive our evil is to God.  (2) God saves us in spite of ourselves.  (3) The best human obedience is not good enough.  (4) Dedication to the material often rivals dedication to God.  (5) God has never tolerated rivals.  (6) Salvation must be by divine grace.  (7) Though we must be obedient, human “goodness” cannot save us.

Suggestion for reflection:  What is the difference between acts of appreciation and “you owe me” acts?  (Read Luke 1:34-38.)

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