Matthew 19:16-26 - Mission Impossible
Ten commandments?? How about 10x10x10?
Read / Listen
Read Matthew 19:16-26
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “ ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, 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.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 93
Q. How are these commandments
A. Into two tables.
The first has four commandments,
teaching us what our relation
to God should be.
The second has six commandments,
teaching us what we owe
He started off so well. This rich young man asked Jesus the question that should be everyone's top priority: "what good thing must I do to be saved?" All of us - every person born since Adam - instinctively knows there's a relationship between salvation and doing good things. But this young man is smarter than most, for he can see that not everything that seems to be good actually is. He wants to focus his efforts on what really counts.
Jesus didn't need to think about the question for too long. Although it's a profoundly important question to ask, it's not at all hard to answer: if you want salvation, perfectly follow the commands of the One who is good.
Here's where things started to go off the rails for the young man. He asked Jesus, "Which ones?"
It's moments like this that we really see the patience of our Savior. He would have been totally justified to burst out laughing at the glaring stupidity of the question, or even to have the young man instantly smote with fire from heaven for daring to suggest that some of God's commands are more important than others. But Jesus doesn't do what the rest of us would have done if we were in His position. Jesus continues to engage the man in conversation.
Somehow the man missed the fact that Jesus had said nothing about the first table of the law: those first four commandments that teach us what our relationship ought to be with the One who said, "Be holy, because I am holy." Jesus goes on to tell the man that perfection requires much more than following ten commandments. After all, nowhere does the Bible command a person to give away all that he has. True godliness includes all of the implications of both tables of the law, whether they've been written down or not.
Both this rich young man and the disciples are absolutely crushed by Jesus' answer. Who could possibly meet this exponential criteria for salvation?
We understand God's law to have three purposes:
It shows us how sinful we are;
It provides a general guide for how society should behave;
It shows the saved how to live gratefully.
The Heidelberg Catechism properly focuses on the third use of the law: gratitude. But don't forget that you will never really be truly grateful unless you first understand your guilt.
This is why we read some portion of God's law in our worship services, so that we are regularly convicted by it; so that each week we're forced to ask with the disciples, "who then can be saved?"
So when we hear Jesus answer, "with man, [salvation] is impossible, but with God all things are possible," we can look at these two tables of the law as a guide for grateful living in response to God's grace freeing us from our exponential guilt.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, the One who is good;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for His law, that we've met its conditions in Christ, and pray that we';; use His law as a guide for grateful living.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - 1 Corinthians 16