“Jesus on the Issue of Wealth and Riches: An Interpretation of Luke 18:18-30,” by Andrew J. Schatkin My dear Christians and non-Christians, and you of all faiths and thoughts and all views and opinions, I bid you and ask you to join with me in another voyage of intellectual discovery where those who may wish to engage in critical thinking and do not engage in and accept media lies, falsehoods, political code words, and hype can join in the effort to gain truth and facts amid the barrage of corruption and virtual darkness we are confronted with and befuddled and made effective fools of. I welcome you in this quest and task of attaining and coming to know intellectual honesty and honest discernment. Join with me in this voyage of discovery to get at and find what is valid and authentic in the world of confusion and to come with me in tearing apart he curtain of lies and darkness that hides from us what is truth and facts. Ladies and Gentleman, today I propose to seek and attempt to interpret and explain Jesus’s comments about wealth and riches and the meaning of the words of the eternal god and savior and redeemer of humanity. I undertake this task with utmost humility knowing I do so acutely aware of my sinful human nature and my significant human limitations. The gospel passage found in Luke 18:18-30 as follows: “And a ruler aske him ‘Good Teacher what shall do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but god alone. You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery; do not kill; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother.’ And he said ‘all these I have observed from my youth.’ And when Jesus heard it he said to him ‘One thing you still lack… Sell all you have and distribute to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and come follow me.’ But when he heard this, he became sad for he was very rich. Jesus looking at him said ‘How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of heaven? For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god.’ Those who heard it said ‘Then who can be saved?’ But he said ‘what is impossible with men is possible with god.’ And Peter said ‘Lo, we have left our homes and follow you’ and he said to them ‘Truly, I say to you there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of god who will not receive manifold more in this time and in the age to come eternal life.’ So what are we to make of this passage which presents many thoughts and many strands of meaning? First, Jesus is presented with the question by a ruler how can he inherit eternal life and first says and asks him rather has he observed the commandments and the ruler answers ‘he has’ and Jesus gives a further answer that he lacks one thing and that is to sell all his good and give to the poor. Does Jesus intend to condemn wealth and riches? I do not think so but means to say that for this wealthy man wealth is the barrier to Christ and eternal life and coming to the kingdom of god and so Jesus says to him ‘give away your goods.’ But for different people the barrier is different, whether looks, clothes, intellect, or position in society. In short, wealth can for the rich be a great barrier because the person of wealth and riches may have no need or think they have no need of god, salvation, and eternal life, or think they do not and come to believe in their own greatness and invincibility. Thus, wealth can be a barrier and so Jesus advises this rich and wealthy man to give up his wealth and give to the poor. Then Jesus says it is harder for a camel to go through the eye of s needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus now further expands with a general statement and principle and tells us all how great a barrier wealth can be to know god and enter the kingdom of heaven. It is a barrier like the other barriers I mentioned because it lessens our recognition of our dependence on god and we come to believe we are some sort of gods. Finally, Jesus make and gives an even more cryptic statement that no man who has left his family for god and Christ, whether house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children for Christ and for the sake of the kingdom of god who will not receive much more in this time and life and in the age to come eternal life. What Jesus means to tell us here is that Christ and his kingdom and the joy and love of heaven will be the reward of those who make this ultimate commitment to follow Christ. He does say not that we must give up our family ties to follow Christ but those who do this for the sake of god and the kingdom of heaven will be rewarded both in this life and will be given in the next life eternal life. I now make the following further observations. The ruler may have been a religious leader. Jesus says here both observing the commandments and giving up your possessions will lead to eternal life. The love of god and love of neighbor leads to eternal life as does giving up one’s possessions giving them to the poor and following Jesus. Jesus says in verse 19 that god is the source of all goodness and even of Jesus and his ministry. The rulers is told to care for those in need by selling his possessions and given to the poor the price of following Christ. The ruler does not leave but is present to hear Jesus’s further words, but he is sad. Jesus says it is hard for a rich man to gain entrance to the kingdom of god but god can liberate people from slavish attachment to their possessions. It seems from this passage that the rich cannot be easily saved due to their attachment to their possessions, which Jesus makes clear can and is a barrier for the rich to come to know god and enter the kingdom of heaven due to their conviction of their independence or rather lack of dependence on god. Jesus in verse 27 says that with god all is possible and even the rich man can be saved and his love of his possessions can be broken. I hope and trust I have given to those who may read this essay some grasp and understanding of the words of god incarnate Christ Jesus and urge you all to read and reread this passage in the gospel of Luke and so come to know the thoughts and words of the savior and redeemer of all humanity and the king of creation.

“Jesus on the Issue of Wealth and Riches: An Interpretation of Luke 18:18-30,” by Andrew J. Schatkin My dear Christians…

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