Luke 18:1 TPT One day a wealthy Jewish nobleman of high standing posed this question to Jesus: “Wonderful Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?
19 “Jesus answered, “Why would you call me wonderful when there is only one who is wonderful—and that is God alone?
20 You already know what is right and what the commandments teach: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not lie, and honor your father and your mother.’
21 “The wealthy leader replied, “These are the very things I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember.”
If the wealthy nobleman was already keeping the commandments, then why would he come and ask Jesus how to obtain eternal life? In other translations, this wealthy Jewish nobleman is a titled religious leader or stated as a certain leader. This leader was wealthy and was keeping all the commandments of God as far as he is concerned. He seemed to have it all together yet he was questioning his own salvation. He was not at peace. He was tormented and thus asked, “what must I do to receive eternal salvation.”
How did Jesus answer?
Luke 18:22-27 TPT “Ah,” Jesus said, “there’s still one thing you’re missing in your life.” “What is that?” asked the man. “You must go and sell everything you own and give all the proceeds to the poor so you will have eternal treasures.
23 Then come and follow me.” These words devastated the rich leader, for he was extremely wealthy.
24 Jesus saw his disappointment, and looking right at him said, “It is next to impossible for those who have everything to enter into God’s kingdom.
25 Nothing could be harder! You could compare it to trying to stuff a rope through the eye of a needle.”
26 Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?”
27 Jesus responded, “What appears humanly impossible is more than possible with God. For God can do what man cannot.”
Was this about money and wealth? Many within the Christian ranks teach and believe this is about money and being rich. Yet in verse 26, a question is asked, “Then who can be saved?”
Why is this question a global general question as if everyone was a leader, wealthy, and keeping the commandments?
Then, in verse 28, Peter says they had left family, career, friends, houses, and all for Him.
This story is not about money or wealth per se. It is about attachment. The wealthy leader was too attached to his wealth and was unable to let it go. He was a leader and wealthy but miserable because he asked how could he obtain eternal life? Leadership, money, and keeping the commandments did not bring him joy or the fulfillment of life. Keeping the commandments of God can represent someone going to church, tithing, knowing the Word, and praying but still miserable because his money was his idol and attachment.
Because money was the rich man’s idol and attachment, Jesus said to him, sell it all and be free.
This is why the crowd asked, “then who can be saved?” They knew the context was about attachment to money, spouses, kids, career, etc and one would need to be able to surrender everything as Peter said he had given up everything. Then in verses 29-30, Jesus said all those who leave their families, spouses, kids, friends, career,etc for the Kingdom of God will receive a hundredfold.
We need to be able to let go of anything at any time if we are really following the Lord. We need to be willing to go anywhere and do anything for Him if we are truly Free.
Whatever we are struggling with or not in full compliance may be an attachment we are having a hard time letting go. The wealthy man left disappointed because he could not let go.
Wealth, people, food, health, or things are not the problem. The problem is not being able to let go when asked for the Kingdom.
Pastor Steve Kim