1. God and gods
A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.  You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’ ”  “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy.  Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!  Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”  Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”  Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”  “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God  will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
A young and wealthy ruler comes to Jesus. Back in that day, you would not address a rabbi as a good teacher. Only the word of God was referred to as good. The man is deceived because he thinks it’s about what he has to do. When it comes to it, he chooses his wealth over Jesus.
When was the last time when I was stressed out and worried about my finances? The love of money will kill my faith and corrupt my soul. However, there are many other gods like money: relationships, myself, family, marriage, education, career, sport, comfort etc.
It’s really difficult to follow Jesus when I possess a lot of things that provide a sense of comfort, happiness, meaning, accomplishment etc. This is because the more I possess, the more difficult it will become to see my need for Jesus.
If I believe Jesus to be who he says he is then it will all be worth it in the end! There will be treasures in heaven, not cash but spiritual.
Giving up things for God is not a loss but a huge gain! The disciples are confused as recorded in verse 26 because wealth was considered a blessing from God back in that day as it is in many religious circles even today.
Taking steps of faith by forsaking the comforts that possessions and even relationships in this world can bring will bear incredible spiritual returns. See Jesus’ words in Luke 18:29-30.
2 Cross and Crowns
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled.  He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;  they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”  The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
Jesus knew the danger that was there yet he walks right into it. Jesus does what he called the rich man to: give up everything to give birth to immeasurable blessings. The apostles didn’t get it until the end.
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”  Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.  He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,  and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  You are witnesses of these things.
Eventually, their minds were opened by Jesus. This gave birth to such boldness that they were willing to die for Jesus. Jesus will only give me the crown if I’m willing to carry the cross daily. There is no way around the cross in order to be saved.
More by Forest Versele
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