November 17, 2022 - Matthew 19

Jesus travels southward: “Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan” (19:1). There he taught on divorce, welcomed the little children and, in response to a man’s question – “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (19:16) – had something to say about gaining the kingdom of heaven. Though this man had so intently obeyed the law, he still came up short. Furthermore, Jesus explained how difficult it is for a rich person to enter the kingdom, evidently, because of the lure of earthly treasures and the inability to give them up and to look beyond them.

Could I put the following matter thusly? The disciples thought the rich had a leg up on getting into heaven. They just had plain bad theology! Like the disciples, how warped our thinking can be. It’s not the worldly fortunate who inherit the kingdom of heaven but those who are willing to give up all for Christ. The gospel corrects our thinking and reminds us, “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (19:30). The world gets it all wrong; we need to be sure we get it right! Augustus Toplady certainly got it right:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,

let me hide myself in thee;

let the water and the blood,

from thy wounded side which flowed,

be of sin the double cure;

save from wrath and make me pure. –Augustus Toplady (1776)

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