Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
This is the second day in a row that we have heard Jesus talk about the danger of being attached to our riches. Yesterday He told the rich young man to “go and sell what you have, give to the poor, and then come, follow me”. Today, Jesus says that it is “hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven”.
Jesus doesn’t have anything against rich people – at all! In fact, He loves us all unconditionally. But both Scripture passages speak to me that Jesus doesn’t want us to put our trust in material things. If we cling to the things of earth they begin to control us. But if we use the gifts God has given us for His Kingdom, than “all things are possible”.
So the apostles wanted to be assured that their sacrifices to follow Jesus would be recognized. We see their humanness so clearly here. And instead of chastising them for asking such a question, Jesus assures them and all of us who sacrifice for the sake of His name that we will be blessed “a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life”. Do we trust the Lord with this promise? Does it show in the way that I live my life?
Finally, Jesus says that “many who are first will be last, and the last will be first”. I think there are many in our world who consider themselves “first” because they have a lot of power, money or prestige. Jesus does measure success in those terms. And they may end up “last” in the Kingdom of heaven. Jesus raises up the lowly. Those who are “last” according to worldly standards, those who humble themselves, those who generously share God’s gifts with others, may find themselves “first” in the Kingdom of God.
How does this passage speak to my heart?
What am I attached to in this world?
Does something keep me from surrendering everything for the Lord?
Do I trust the Lord completely?
Lord, you challenge us with your words today. We want to be generous with all the gifts that you have given us, but we sometimes lack in trust. Increase my trust in you Lord, that whatever I offer in your name will be multiplied by your sacred hands. Help me to believe that my simple offerings will be blessed and returned a hundred times more, now and in the world to come. Help me to count my blessings, for I know that I everything I have comes from your generous hands.
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