Luke 18:18,22,23 (Week 2, “I wish Jesus dind’t say that!)

This week in Victory, the appointed discussion area will be Luke 18:18,22-23. It is the 2nd part of the series “I wish Jesus Didn’t say that!”, subtitled “Sell everything and follow me”.

Luke 18:18-23 (ESV)

[18] And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” [19] And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. [20] You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” [21] And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” [22] When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” [23] But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

Notice that I have not omitted verses 19-21 since I intended to cover them in the discussion.

Bear with me on the writing style, it’s been a while since my last entry.

The first part of Verse 18 tells us the identity of the Counseled. A “Ruler” had asked Jesus. If I were in that point in time, imagining the culture, I can probably say that a ruler is someone that is wealthy, owns a good deal of land, has servants to do his bidding, in the upper class society, and perhaps recognized. In other words, he is one that the other Jews could have dreamed of exchanging places with.

Yet here, it was him who posed the question on Jesus. “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”.

Going back to the first part of verse 18, a person who almost had everything the world can offer, recognizes the Wisdom of Jesus calling Him a ‘Good Teacher’, and continue on to ask what he must do in order to get what he believe he’s still missing, a place in the Kingdom of God.

And that’s fair… in fact, if I was there, and that question is asked, I would be all ears too. He just asked a question that perhaps those who had been following Jesus around had been meaning to ask.

Verse 19 (this wasn’t part of the Victory material but here’s why I didn’t left this out)… Jesus interestingly responded “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” I remember John as he opened his Gospel, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And in spite of that, Jesus fully God, who became flesh, shows us to bring back all the honor and glory to the Father. Jesus was a crowd magnet. He is followed by people around Him wherever he goes. Count to that the Pharisees who are watching him, carefully listening to His words and waiting for every opportunity to try and use it against Him.

So Jesus asked back, but at the same time, sending the message, that God is the only standard of good. And here is why I think so…

If I was the “ruler”, I can command people around me. They’ll do what I say without question. Surrounded by servants who is probably afraid to opposed my ideals. So yeah, as a ruler, you’d probably think all that you had, and all you were doing, is good.

I believe Jesus was trying to break through that mindset to self righteousness to that ruler, and to us.

Verse 20 through 21… Jesus continued, “You know the commandments: “, and here, I picture a classic comic conversation between two friends, he he,

Person 1: Do you know where the garden is?
Person 2: You know how if you walk straight this path and you see a Green gate?
Person 1: Oh yeah, the Green gate right around there?
Person 2: Yes that gate… but the garden is not there 🙂

So the rich ruler was quick to reply, oh, that Commandments, “All these I have kept from my youth.”

Understand this, ‘you may have kept all the commands, live through all the rules that you learned’, but here, Jesus is saying “One thing you still lack”. And I’ll put a disclaimer on this, but to me, it goes on to say that it will take more than religion to assure you of your place for an eternal life in heaven. Now here the series title also comes to play how “I wish Jesus didn’t say that!”, and to some of us, me including, who have been introduce to Christian fate late, isn’t it true? This makes more sense doesn’t it?

Jesus continued on Verse 22… “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” is in a way of saying, ‘are you willing to give up your old life to follow me – ‘.

– Your wealth?
– Your land?
– Your servants?
– Your stature?
– Your position?
(in case you are unable to follow, I am taking my cue from here: “I can probably say that a ruler is someone that is wealthy, owns a good deal of land, has servants to do his bidding, in the upper class society, and perhaps recognized.”

Know to
– trust God as your provider
– that God will bring you shelter
– be a servant to God instead
– seek God’s approval and Him alone
– bring back the honor and glory to Him

Verse 23 closes with the rich ruler leaving sad, understanding that the cost of following Jesus was giving up the comforts he already had. Didn’t he just wished Jesus didn’t say that?

Picture this…

– Your wealth?
– Your land?
– Your servants?
– Your stature?
– Your position?

Jesus was already in the throne with his father. Yet Jesus have chosen to leave heaven and made His dwelling among us. Who probably had all the Angels at his commission. Giving up the comforts of Heaven and His seat in the Majesty. Carried the cross we should have bore, spilling the blood we should have shed, took upon Him the death we should have died.

What are you willing to give up?

Good night and God bless.

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