Thursday, 14 October 2021
Title: Money Can’t Buy
Pr Mark Tan
The rich man’s question to Jesus is the question of a lifetime: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” What intrigues me in today’s reading is not the question itself, but the person who is asking as well as the person who is expected to give an answer. The rich man, as the title suggests, was rich. Verse 22 notes that he possessed great wealth. He would not have the worries of common people, in fact he wouldn’t have had any worries at all, except for the great equalizer of all mankind: death. As someone said before, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a Ferrari.” This saying, though funny and rings with some truth, does have its limitations: Money can never buy you another life, nor can it prolong your existence one day more than what fate has planned.
So the rich man, seeing the great knowledge and power of Jesus, went up to him and asked the question which would solve his one and only problem: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus’ answer is not only heart-breaking for the rich man, it is also telling of what our hearts and attitudes must be like, in order to receive eternal life:
- We must recognize Jesus as God. Notice Jesus’ first response wasn’t an answer but another question and a revealing statement “Why do you call me good? There is none good but God”. Jesus was affirming the rich man that he was asking the right person for help, but it isn’t because Jesus was a “good teacher”, and since Jesus just said only God is good, He was affirming to the Rich Man that Jesus is God.
- We must recognize that we cannot achieve God’s impossible standards. After revealing implicitly that He is God, Jesus continues to set the standard of God’s holiness i.e. we must be perfect and holy in order to have eternal life. Now, the rich man probably didn’t understand this because he replied to Jesus that he had kept God’s standards since he was a young boy. So, to test the Rich Man, Jesus told him to sell everything he had, and then, to follow Him. Why? Because if he was perfect, he would have known who Jesus is and what a Saviour must do: give up his life for another person.
- We must recognize that we can only depend on Jesus. The rich man, hearing Jesus’ answer, disappointingly left, because he could not give up his wealth. It should sadden us as well because it proves that no one can ever be good enough to gain eternal life on his own. But thankfully for us, Jesus did not just give an answer, He is the answer to eternal life. Put your trust in Jesus and you will receive eternal life, for “all things are possible with God.”
I hope the rich man’s story doesn’t end here. I hope he had the chance to discover eternal life: to know the only True God, and Jesus the Saviour whom He had sent (John 17:3). Meantime, dear reader, I pray today’s devotion reminds us that Jesus has given something that literally money can’t buy, and for all eternity, we should be grateful and thankful.
Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
- 必须承认我们不能达到上帝所定下永不能达到的标准 —— 耶稣含蓄地宣告自己是上帝后，继而为上帝的圣洁定下标准，即我们必须完美、圣洁才能有永生。这可令财主困惑了，因为他已回答耶稣说他从小就遵守上帝的标准。为了试探财主，耶稣吩咐他去变卖所有的，然后跟从祂。为什么？因为如果财主是完美的，他应该已经知道耶稣是谁，并知道一个救主应该做什么：为另一个人舍弃自己的生命。
- 必须承认我们只能依靠耶稣 —— 财主听了耶稣的回答，失望地离开了，因为他不能放弃自己的财富。我们也应为此而感到悲伤，因为这证明了没有人可以靠自己的力量而得到永生，幸而，耶稣不仅给了答案，祂更是获得永生的答案——相信耶稣，你就会有永生，因为上帝凡事都能。