January 14, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke it is recorded that Jesus said that if anyone should “come after me” that person must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Him. It should come as no surprise then that Jesus told this man to sell everything he had (deny himself), take up his cross and follow Him.
The Lord proved that this man who claimed perfection was not perfect. For this man did not love his neighbor as himself, as the second commandment requires. Nor did he love God before all else which was testified by his unwillingness to obey the Lord’s will in the giving of his great wealth to the poor. He was not willing to become poor to make others rich, which is exactly what Jesus did; He became poor so that we might be made rich. The Lord was asking this man to do the same thing He did, but the man was not willing to become poor.
But he would not have become poor. He would have great riches, or treasures, in heaven. Also, don’t you know, the Lord God in Heaven would have taken care of this man in this life? But the man did not have that faith. He rejected the treasures in heaven, he rejected God’s provision in this life, he rejected the will of God for him, he rejected the opportunity to love others as he loved himself, and he did not obtain that which he searched for which was eternal life. At least not on this day, perhaps later he did, we hope so.
Does this mean that to go to heaven a person has to give all their money away? No, it doesn’t. Remember, the Lord was trying to get this man to understand that he was not perfect. He did not obey each command of God perfectly. It seems that while this man desired eternal life he had not yet understood that he was lost, meaning that he was a sinner in need of a Saviour. The Savior would have saved him and given him the eternal life he desired if only he confessed that he was not perfect and asked for forgiveness and salvation believing completely on Jesus as the Messiah. But this man did not, for the Bible is clear he went away sad and grieved. Again, hopefully at another time and on another day this man did come to Christ as a poor sinner in need of a Savior.
Until next time,
William T. Howe, Ph.D.