“With men it is impossible, but not with God…”
– Mark 10:27
When Jesus began to share how difficult it is for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, the twelve were astonished! They were utterly amazed and dumbfounded. They were at a loss; it was contrary to everything they had ever been taught or had come to know.
In their society, they equated worldly success with godly blessings. The rich were viewed as the most blessed by God. As a result, they had influence and elevation in status. Others might look at them and think, “They must have the formula! They must be doing something right!” The thought was that they were undoubtedly the people more favored by God and undoubtedly had a place in heaven. I do not think that mentality has changed much in today’s society.
The rich young ruler came to Jesus with confidence. He had a list of accomplishments of all the laws he kept. And yet, he asked Jesus what he must do to get to heaven. Jesus is brilliant in His answer, as usual. He lists out the ruler’s accomplishments and appeals to what the man knows best…his works and his pride. Rather than hear “well done,” the young man is told that there was still something lacking. What was lacking was a changed heart. He was told to sell everything, pick-up his cross, and begin following Jesus.
The Bible tells us this rich young ruler left sorrowful because he had many possessions. He came in confidence and left defeated. If he had listened and accepted Jesus as Savior, he could have gone in victory.
The disciples were perplexed because they were conditioned and raised to look on the outward. Engrained perceptions die a hard death. What Jesus was doing was checking the heart of this man. The Lord was not saying that no rich person can ever make it into heaven. He was pointing out that anything that comes before the Lord has to be dealt with. Jesus must be your Savior, and then He will be your treasure. If He is your Savior and treasure, He will become your Adonai. When Christ is Adonai, you will be obedient to Him and His words and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Nothing is impossible with God!
“…anyone of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be My disciple.”
– Luke 14:33