Jesus had a few encounters with rich people. In this example, He puts the rich man to the test to reveal where his priorities lie. Our priority should be with God and His will, not our own. Is it a sin to be rich? I don’t think that is what Jesus is saying. But what we do with them may be. Who or what do you put your trust in? It is hard to let go. It is hard to live for Christ. But with God, all things are possible. No matter what we have done, no matter who we think we are, we can be saved because of what Christ has done. God can use us to do great things. There is nothing God can’t do and there is nobody He can’t save.
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ ‘DO NOT MURDER,’ ‘DO NOT STEAL,’ ‘DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.'”
And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! 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 they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Then Peter began to say to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You.”
So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall 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. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
There is a lot to take in here. Jesus’ statements in this scripture kind of negates the prosperity gospel you hear about, doesn’t it? He doesn’t say. “Follow Me and you will be rich.” He says “take up your cross and follow Me.” I don’t think He is saying that you can’t be rich or have nice things, either. I think He is saying to not put your trust in those things. The rich man was sad, because He put too much trust in his wealth and the things that he had. Jesus says to put your trust in Him.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” [money]
Jesus wants us to put trust in Him, not the things of this world. As we trust in Him, the treasures we receive will be much greater than anything this world has to offer. Some will look at the last paragraph in Mark saying we will gain all these things here on this earth if we follow Him. That is true. But He is not talking about material riches and we often overlook those two words, “with persecution.” I think what He is talking about there is gaining a church family. Having a community and being able to lean on brothers and sisters in times of need and trusting in the One who is in control and who created all things.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
With God all things are possible. It doesn’t mean we will get our every desire, but no matter what we are facing we can get through it knowing that Christ is by our side. He will give us strength. Only He can. He was there in the beginning with the Father. He is there with us now and He will be there in the end. He has the power to create, and He has the authority to forgive us of our sins and to reconcile us. He paid for our sins so that we may have the inheritance of eternal life in heaven.
…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.
You can trust in Jesus. Not only did He die for us, but He created us. Not only did He give His life, but He is risen. He created all things and all things are in His control. He made the blind see, the lame to walk, the sick to be well, and the dead to rise. He commands the demons and they obey. He even has authority over the wind and the waves.
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!”
After all the disciples have seen Jesus do, He still does not cease to amaze them and they still needed more faith and believe who He is. Aren’t we that way sometimes? He is God! There is nothing He cannot do. With Him, all things are possible. And He will always do what is best for us. He loves us so much that He sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.
1 Corinthians 15:3-8
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.
Paul told His readers that Jesus rose from the dead according to the scriptures. He was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. And he was saying that if anyone does not believe him, there were nearly 500 witnesses that they could ask themselves. We can rely on God. We have no reason to fear. We can be saved. With God, all things are possible.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.