Text: Mark 10:23-31
29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Who bought a Lotto ticket! Who wants to be a Billionaire?
We all can get caught up in that frenzy. I can put my hand down because it is my wife who does my dirty work! We see wealth as the answer to our problems but in reality with wealth come other problems and especially the ones that keep us from seeing the true joy in Jesus rather than the temporal joys of the world.
Last week we spoke of treasure in heaven and how so many people see their treasure here on earth in what they have or do. The rich young man in the gospel last week went away disappointed because he had great possessions instead of following Jesus and the eternal reward that is given. Many in this life also follow material gain while at the same time giving up the nourishment needed for spiritual feeding.
A friend of mine who makes his living teaching guitar always keeps Sunday as his day of rest where he doesn’t teach or play gigs … and the Lord knows that he could use the money. But instead he goes to church and focuses on his spiritual feeding and family time. He’s told me once,
“God always meets my needs … rarely early … but always on time!”
Jesus, in speaking to his disciples about those who trust in riches or wealth says:
“Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!”
Remember the young man went away disappointed because he had great possessions. And Jesus then adds:
25 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.”
We all know how hard it is to just thread a needle don’t we? Have you ever sewn or tried to sew a button on? I have … it wasn’t good. Thankfully my wife is good at it.
So, then the image that Jesus is giving the disciples of entering the Kingdom of God by any means other than, 8 by grace … through faith is what we have to focus on.
Camel … eye of a needle … you get it. It is quite literally impossible!
So the things of this world and all of the accomplishments you and I achieve won’t measure up in God’s cup of salvation.
So the disciples ask:
“Then who can be saved?”
Who can meet the requirements?
Who can get through the eye of the needle?
Jesus tells them:
“With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
We can’t do it.
We can’t achieve it.
We can’t buy it.
Heck … we can’t even steal it!
But … we can have it none the less.
In fact … we can have it all … because:
This is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Eph 2:8-9
But we want to boast don’t we? We always want to share the good news of our team winning don’t we? It seems that way with so many.
Working on Saturdays and Sundays for most of my adult life sucked all the interest out of football for me, both college and pro. I don’t have a favorite team and really I’m happy to see Michigan and Michigan State do well. I really don’t follow football much, and it is more likely that you’ll see Monica turning on the game than me. I must admit though that this Michigan / Michigan State football weekend looks to be an exciting one.
Our lives revolve around what we do, how we prepare, what advantages we find, and how we perform. Some struggle and some excel. Both Michigan and Michigan State have had great wins and hard loses. We live and die with the teams we follow and we see it in our own lives.
Success and failure is all part of our own game of life too. We live with the ups and downs of family and friends.
We try not to let the successes or failures define us.
We try not to get too high or too low.
Work hard, do your best, provide for your family, but see the greater gift – not in the success or things of this world - but what you have received that you could never earn, the gift of grace and faith in Jesus Christ and his righteousness.
28 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”
Last week Jesus told the rich young man to sell everything, give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then Christ compelled him to come follow me.
But he went away in sorrow because he had great possessions.
Martin Luther in speaking in his lectures in Genesis says:
“Do not fear those, says Christ (Matt 10:28), who kill the body, house, and other things, what of it? These things have to be left behind in any case.”
He then continues:
“For neither Peter nor Paul even though they were saintly men, had better flesh than we have.” They too, were children of Adam, [broken in sin] just as we are. Paul sometimes glories and boasts as if he were already victorious over all evils. Sometimes he complains pitiable about fears within and fighting’s without (2Cor.7:5).
Where was that completely invincible hero, that victor over all hell, then?”
LW Am. Ed. Vol.5, Pg 27
29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands,
[And in this life] persecutions, and in the age to come [but they will also receive] eternal life.
We will have tribulations and persecutions but also, heaven … and eternal life. That is fully on account of God, in Christ, through the Spirit’s work.
The first will be last and the last first!
We have Christ’s assurance of eternal life and the word of Jesus is always trustworthy and true. Those who trust in him and follow him have what he has promised … eternal life.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit