Opening Prayer

Loving Savior, thank you for putting your place in heaven aside and coming to die for my sin. Thank you that all you are and have is for me.

Read LUKE 18:18–30

The Rich and the Kingdom of God

18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’[a]

21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said.

22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, 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.”

26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?”

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”

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  1. Luke 18:20 Exodus 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20

New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1–17. Which challenges you the most? How will you respond?

Think Further

The ruler’s question isn’t a casual one. Even his unusual address to Jesus as ‘Good teacher’ (v. 18), which Jesus pushes back against to test the man’s insight (v. 19), suggests that this is a personal question, which matters: what must he do to inherit eternal life? Jesus points him to the commandments. The man replies that he’s kept them all since he was a boy, yet clearly this hasn’t brought him peace or he wouldn’t be asking the question.

Jesus hears the man’s sincerity and longing,1 but he then challenges him about coveting and possessions (the tenth commandment, not previously mentioned). The man has so much, but there is one thing he lacks: his attachment to his possessions makes him unable to choose the kingdom. The irony is that his ‘lack’ is that he has everything. That is what stops him following Jesus. Literally ‘deeply grieved’ (v. 23) because of his wealth, he cannot follow through. Jesus has compassion for the man’s distress and recognizes how hard his choice is, but there’s no getting away from it: wealth is what stops him receiving the kingdom. For him, it cannot be both/and, it has to be either/or. You can’t get a camel through the eye of a needle; this man, though he longs to follow, cannot do so unless he yields up what has such a hold over him.

Wealth as a spiritual problem (not as a sign of blessing) shocks all who are listening (v. 26). Peter blurts out that they’ve done what’s required: ‘We have left all we had to follow you!’ (v. 28). Jesus then reassures the disciples that sacrifices made to choose the kingdom of God will not be in vain, but that the challenge to choose the kingdom always comes first.


What stops you from seeking his kingdom and righteousness first before all things?2 Be accountable to another if God shows you need to change.

Closing prayer

Lord Jesus, I confess that your kingdom does not always take first place in my thinking or actions. As I ask your forgiveness, I also look to you to help me have right priorities—your priorities—in all I think and do.

Last Updated on January 15, 2024 by kingstar

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