November 21, 2022 – Luke 18: 15- 30 – Where Life is Found

Today we will be reading from Luke 18:15-30:

15 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them, and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. 16 But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery. You shall not murder. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and mother.’ ” 21 He replied, “I have kept all these since my youth.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one thing lacking. Sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” 23 But when he heard this, he became sad, for he was very rich. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.”

26 Those who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 He replied, “What is impossible for mortals is possible for God.”

28 Then Peter said, “Look, we have left our homes and followed you.” 29 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 who will not get back very much more in this age and in the age to come eternal life.”

I think there is an interesting parallel in today’s reading. We see children, and we see a rich ruler.  In Jesus’ day, the children would have had no real “value.”  They were little more than property. They did not live in the child-centric world that we do today.  So would have shocked the crowd that not only would Jesus welcome the children, but He would commend them and tell others to be like them. 

Next, we see the rich ruler.  Unlike the children, he would have been admired. He would have been respected.  People would have looked up to him.  And yet what did Jesus tell him?  To sell all that he and follow Jesus.  And this shocked the disciples.  If this man, who had it all, was far from heaven, how could any of them have a chance?  

The reason the children were closer than the rich ruled comes down to what they had.  Nothing. The children had nothing, so Jesus was all they needed. The ruler, he had many, many things. That is why he walked away because he had so many other things that he loved more than he loved Jesus.  

So, today, two questions.  What is it in your life that you are tempted to love more than Jesus?  I talked yesterday in my sermon at St. Matthew’s that the hard idols to defeat are not the “bad” ones; the hard idols to defeat are the “good” ones, family, work, etc.  What are the things that we are tempted to love more than Jesus? 

After we have named that, question two, will we lay that aside and put Jesus first in our lives?  Will we make Him first in our lives over everything thing else? That is where life is found.  

The children did. The ruler couldn’t.  What will we do today? 

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