Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossi-ble, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
It’s good to be reminded that we can’t earn our way into heaven. An eager rich man came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He wanted to do something! Jesus reminded him of God’s commandments, and the man figured he had that covered. “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.
But then Jesus showed that keeping the law is impossible for us. This man, for example, had missed the heart of the law—that is, to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:30-31). Though he may have focused on the do’s and don’ts of the law, the man had missed the heart of it—and had broken the whole thing.
Jesus could see what was lacking in the man’s life, so he prescribed the cure. The man’s problem was his attachment to wealth, and that was preventing him from living totally for God.
As the man heard Jesus tell him to do what he just couldn’t do, his face paled and drained of life. What a picture of sadness. If he didn’t let go, his wealth would sink him. For this man, his riches were like cement shoes in deep water—deadly!
Being possessed by our possessions—no matter how much we have—makes us unable to accept God’s gracious love. Salvation is possible—but only with God. And we can’t earn it; it’s a gift of grace!
Lord, help us to realize that full life is possible only by your grace, and that we can be faithful only if we give up everything for you. Amen.
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