v. 18-30 A rich young man came to Jesus and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied "You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother." The man relied that he had kept all the commandments since he was young. When Jesus heard this He said, "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." The man was very sad when he heard what Jesus had said because he had great wealth. Jesus said to him "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 a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Some people asked who could be saved. The disciples said that they had left everything to follow Jesus. "I tell you the truth," Jesus said "no one who has left home or wife or brothers 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."
The man had done everything he thought of, but wanted to know if there was anything else that he could do. Jesus knew his heart and asked him to do something that would be extremely hard. It seems this man chose to not sell everything to follow Jesus. What a missed opportunity! Good works without a Kingdom view are dead works. There is nothing that we can do on our own to earn eternity. Salvation can't be earned, it is a gift from God. You may be asked to give up what makes you secure and what you attach you identity to. It is worth it! This man would have been more secure with Jesus than with all his wealth. Jesus does not ask all believers to sell everything, although we might be asked to give up things that are dear to us. We are to get rid of anything that puts up a barrier to God. Jesus said that those who follow Him will receive many times as much in this age and the age to come. Many faithful die destitute so this isn't meaning wealth necessarily. What God gives us could never compare to the world's wealth.
The verse about the camel going through the eye of a needle is easier than a rich man getting into Heaven always seemed to confuse me. It makes it seem like it is impossible for a rich person to get into Heaven. As usual Jesus' teaching had multiple meanings. The eye of the needle is said to describe a gate in Jerusalem, which opened after the main gate was closed at night. A camel could only pass through this smaller gate if it was stooped and had its baggage removed.
A perfect example of how we are supposed to come to God.
- we are at the door, we must only knock and it will be opened
- our baggage from our past needs to be removed first in order to fit through the gate
- only by getting on our knees can we pass through
- by humbling ourselves in the darkness, we can enter
v. 31-34 Jesus told the disciples that what the prophets wrote about Him would be fulfilled in Jerusalem. "He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him, insult Him, spit on Him, flog Him and kill Him. On the third day He will rise again." The meaning of this was hidden from the disciples. Even though Jesus spoke this to them several times, they would not grasp the significance until they saw Him after he was resurrected. When the movie "The Passion" came out, many were offended that the Jewish crowd chanted for Jesus to die. I believe they changed that one line after that dispute. Here Jesus says that He will be given over to the Gentiles (non-Jews). Yes, many of the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead. It was the final decision of the Roman governor Pilate.
v. 35-43 A blind man was sitting on the side of the road begging. When he found out Jesus was there he called out "Son of David, have mercy on me!" Those with Jesus rebuked him and told him to be quiet, he shouted all the same. Jesus healed this man after he persisted and did not give up. Beggars often would sit by the side of the road near cities because that is where they would have the most access to people. This man was unable to make a living so he had to beg. This man had hope and no matter what people said he was not going to give up until he got to Jesus. The man knew Jesus was the Messiah because he called out to the Son of David. What a poor and blind man could see was something that the sighted religious leaders refused to recognize. Are you noticing a pattern with the disciples? As with many today, those that can not see want to deny what others can.