In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Here’s the set up for today’s text. A man asked Jesus, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” After a bit about who or what is good, Jesus told the man to keep the commandments. Then, as if there are some more worthy of being kept than others, the man asked Jesus which commandments should be kept. (cf. Matthew 19:16-18)
Could you imagine asking such a question? I suppose not, given the tone of my question, but it shouldn’t be so surprising. Man has been looking to grade and divide the commandments into those which would be most important and those which are of least importance since God first gave the commandments. For this reason, James wrote, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2:10)
Anyway, Jesus, ever gentle with once such as this, replied with the second table of the Law, those commandments which govern your interaction with each other. That’s not too difficult an ask, at least outwardly—some commandments might likely be easier to keep outwardly than others, and differently so from person to person. Still, this young man answered Jesus that he had kept all of those, but he knew he still lacked something. So, Jesus replied, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” At this, the young man went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (cf. Matthew 19:18-22)
Then, Jesus turned to His disciples and told them, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.” This distressed the disciples a little. They wondered if anyone could be saved, then. Again, Jesus replied, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” So, Peter spoke up and boasted for the others, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” (cf. Matthew 19:23-27)