Rich Young Ruler
Hosea, one of the religious leaders in the local synagogue, was a good man who had tried with all his strength to keep Gods commandments; and yet he was still thirsty, as a deer longs for streams in the desert. He had been intently listening to Jesus, and now ran up to him, knelt down, and asked, Good Teacher, what should I do to receive eternal life?
He replied. Why ask me about what is good? Only God is good. But if you wish to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.
Which commandments? Hosea asked.
Christ had confidence in the mans knowledge, You know them. Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not testify falsely. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother; and love your neighbor as yourself.
In the sincerity of an honest heart, the rich young ruler answered, Ive obeyed all these commandments since I was a child. What else must I do? He spoke not self-righteously in that pride of riches, but sincerely, though in ignorance of their real depth.
Jesus looked deep down into the young mans heart, into depths of weakness and need which must be filled if he would enter the kingdom of heaven, and saw what was missing. He loved Hosea as he loved those who are his own, If you want to be perfect, you lack only one thing. Go and sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.
Such a possibility had never entered Hoseas mind; the thought of it was terribly startling. Now a deeply pathetic gloom painted a dark shadow over the young mans face. He went sadly away because he was very rich and could not understand that true wealth of the spirit was not measured by how many earthly possessions he had. What he truly lacked was earths poverty and heavens riches. Hosea could have been perfect in the sight of God and the money that was given to the poor could have become real treasure in heaven.
In deep pity, the Master watched him go, then looked around and told his disciples, Dear children, I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to get into the kingdom of heaven. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!
His followers were astounded and asked, Then who in the world can be saved?
The Lord looked at them intently and said, Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God!
Peter spoke selfishly, We have left our homes and followed you. What will we get out of it?
Jesus was patient and revealed a special unclouded bright promise in the world to come, I assure you when I, the Son of Man, sit upon my glorious throne in the kingdom, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Everyone who has given up houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my sake, will receive a hundred times as much in return and have eternal life. But many who seem to be important now will be the least important then, and those who are considered least here will be the greatest then.
It was getting toward evening and Christ called the Twelve to gather around their campfire. Knowing the thoughts of all men, he saw their mistaken confidence that at long last he would soon proclaim himself as Messiah and use his miraculous powers to establish his kingdom. All of them were dreaming and planning about their place in the kingdom. But the cross before the crown; they must be brought back to the present. He was disappointed they had ignored the frequent warnings of the tragedy that would await him in Jerusalem in just eight days. His face was grave as he looked at those with whom he had shared both hardship and triumph during the past several years.
In great distress the Savior again reminded them, When we get to Jerusalem, truly all the things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished. He will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans who will mock him, spit on him, beat and kill him; but after three days rise again.
The apostles were silent and did not want to understand or ask themselves just what he meant by this. At first they were afraid that it might be true, but how could it be? Just before, he had told them they were going to be rulers in the new kingdom; but didnt realize he had spoken of a future age. Later they fell asleep dismissing such horrible thoughts of his death.
Next morning when Jesus was surrounded by adoring crowds, the Twelve assumed their reward was awaiting them in Jerusalem. Now they would triumphantly cross the river and enter Jericho with their Messiah in the lead, and then begin the final stage of the journey to his crowning. At least thats what they thought.