BIBLE STUDY, Matthew 28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Twenty-eight:  Wednesday, July 15th, 2020
Bible Lesson: Matthew 19:16-30

Reflection from Pastor Wayne Eberly:

“It’s hard to be rich”
It is hard to be rich. Many of us would read that statement and respond, “Just let me try.” But it really is hard to be rich. In Matthew 19 Jesus says it is hard to be rich. “It is hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.” How hard can it be to be rich? Jesus continues by saying, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

If we have doubts about whether it is hard to be rich, we do well to remember words we have already heard Jesus say in the Gospel of Matthew.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-22)

Why does Jesus say it is hard to be rich? Jesus has just told a rich man to sell his possessions and give to the poor, with the promise that the rich man would then have treasure in heaven. The words are followed by an invitation for the rich man to come and follow Jesus. The great tragedy in this story is that the rich young man is not willing to part with his wealth. “When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.” It is hard to be rich.

If we have doubts about whether it is hard to be rich, we do well to remember words we have already heard Jesus say in the Gospel of Matthew.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:45, 46)

Why does Jesus say it is hard to be rich? In a parable, a man sold everything he had so he could gain the kingdom of heaven, to get the treasure of the kingdom of heaven. In a parable a man sold everything. In real life, with this rich young man, the real-life reality is that the rich young man is not willing to part with his wealth, even if parting with his wealth means he would have the one thing he purported to be seeking, the kingdom of heaven, eternal life, indeed, treasure in heaven. It is hard to be rich. Jesus minces no words. “It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Today we find Jesus speaking about things that are hard…even impossible. In the midst of a hard passage about hard things, even things that are impossible, Jesus speaks of the One with whom all things are possible. There is a word of hope in this hard passage. But the hope in this hard passage is a hope that is found only in God. With God all things are possible.

Along with our daily readings, a group has been meeting on Tuesday mornings at 9 am to discuss the readings in a Bible Study format. Yesterday I proposed three questions for our Bible Study group to use as we read along in Matthew. Maybe these questions will help you explore the meaning of this hard but hopeful passage.

    • What stands out to you in these verses?
    • Do you find anything that disturbs or troubles you?
    • Do you find anything that comforts or encourages you?

 

 

 

 

 

 


Commentary:

“The young man (rich young ruler) is a fine specimen who ‘has it all’: youth, money, morality, a
sense that there is still something more, an interest in eternal things. Matthew resists the temptation to make the disciples (and his own church) look the better by painting the man in dark colors. He was a good, sincere, wealthy young man, and every church would be glad to
‘get’ him. What did he lack? He anticipated being given one more commandment, one final achievement, and then his quest would be fulfilled. Not just the young man, but also the reader is surprised when he is told that he lacks all, that his salvation is impossible. At one level, the story communicates that salvation is not any kind of achievement, that on human terms entering the kingdom is not merely hard, but impossible. It is only when this ‘no’ to all human claims is heard that the ‘yes’ of God can be heard: But for God all things are possible.
Binding this pronouncement to the call to discipleship keeps it from being cheap grace.”
(M. Eugene Boring, Matthew: The New Interpreter’s Bible, p. 394).