Good morning and welcome to Monday’s podcast. It is my great pleasure to take up the baton from James and take you through this week.
In today’s reading, Luke 18:18-43, Jesus predicts his death (again) and he restores sight to a blind man. But today I am going to focus on the conversation between Jesus and a rich young ruler.
The passage begins with Jesus being questioned by this young man. ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus answers by quoting from the 10 commandments that Moses had received from God on Mount Sinai. The man continues in v21: “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
So Andy Murray has recently had hip surgery. We would love to see him win Wimbledon again but we don’t know if he will make a full recovery. One figure that has been court side the whole time has been his mum. Can you even begin to imagine the sacrifices that she has made to see her two boys succeed in their chosen sport?
Her boys showed promise so she gave up her time, her money, and a large portion of her life to see them succeed.
I wonder if they were your kids what would you be prepared to give up to see them reach their full potential?
As for me, I used to swim. My parents, drove me all over the country to competitions, got up at 4.15am to take me to early morning training and remortgaged the house to pay for me to access one of the best coaches in the country. They made a huge sacrifice for which I am eternally grateful.
What would you sacrifice to access the best coach in the world? Maybe it’s not the sporting arena for you, maybe it’s the work place, maybe it’s relationships, maybe it’s marriage, maybe it’s parenting. What would you give to be coached by the best, to have guaranteed results?
Jesus is the best! Jesus is the best coach, the best leader, the best human being to ever walk the earth and he was offering the rich young ruler the opportunity of a life time. What was it worth to him? Would he hold anything back? Would he be prepared to pay what the coach and his coaching was worth?
You see, when we read this passage we tend to focus on what the rich young ruler has been asked to give up. We rarely see the priceless opportunity he was being offered.
When Jesus said come and follow me, he was saying come and spend every moment of every day with me. Come and live along side me. Come and eat meals with me, minister with me. Come let me train you, sort your life out with you, and help you to become the person God made you to be.
This is a genuine offer. When Mark tells this story in his gospel (chapter 10:21) he adds the detail that Jesus looked at the rich man and loved him. Here was a man who was trying hard to do the right thing and was pursuing God. His question was a genuine question, he was not trying to trick or trap Jesus like the Pharisees had done. He really wanted to know.
Jesus says, “sell everything, give to the poor, then come follow me.”
This was the cost, this was the first lesson, the first challenge that Jesus set to help this man to grow, to attain eternal life… but it was too much. The rich man failed to see what was on offer and chose the life he knew rather than the one being offered.
Now, fast forward 5 years in my own story. I went to America and met a dog called Rusty. Although Rusty appeared very friendly he had a thing for noses and so relieved me of the end of mine! There was an insurance payout and all at once I had the means to repay my parents some of what they had sacrificed for me.
I offered… and they refused.
They hadn’t sacrificed because they expected me to one day repay them. They had sacrificed because they loved me and wanted the very best for me. They wanted to give me every opportunity to be the best I could be.
Jesus doesn’t want our money, he doesn’t want us to be indebted to him. He loves us, he wants the very best for us, he wants us to be the very best that we can be.
For the rich young ruler his wealth and dare I say it, his position in society, got in the way of the offer of all time.
Is there anything that is getting in the way of us following him today? The offer he makes to the rich young ruler he makes to us. His offer to us is astounding, beyond cost, we will feel the benefits through this life and into the next. But he wants us to be all in, to hold nothing back. One thing we see consistently with Jesus is that he is all or nothing. How about you?
Jesus, thank you that you invite us to follow you every day. We chose to take a moment today and reflect on your amazing offer of life and abundance. Forgive us when we fail to value your gift to us and help us to let go of everything that holds us back and prevents us from following you with all of our hearts. Amen.
READING: Luke 18:18-43
A certain ruler asked him, ‘Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.”’
‘All these I have kept since I was a boy,’ he said.
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, ‘You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’
When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. Jesus looked at him and said, ‘How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’
Those who heard this asked, ‘Who then can be saved?’
Jesus replied, ‘What is impossible with man is possible with God.’
Peter said to him, ‘We have left all we had to follow you!’
‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus said to them, ‘no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.’
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, ‘We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him; they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.’
The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’
He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
‘Lord, I want to see,’ he replied.
Jesus said to him, ‘Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.’ Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.