The Cost of the Kingdom
"Strait [difficult] is the
gate, and narrow is the way which
As Jesus was walking along the road a young man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. This rich young ruler was living a very good life, obeying the Law to the best of his ability. This was merely his duty as no one has a right to live a bad life.
He was a Jewish religious leader and was well acquainted with the Law. He realized that he was lacking in some way and asked Jesus, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He had recognized something good and true in Jesus and knew of the things he had been teaching.
Jesus told him to keep his commandments. The Law promised eternal life to any Hebrew who would keep it. The young man had always tried to be pleasing to God and replied, "Teacher . . . All these things I have kept since I was a boy."
The young man probably felt quite satisfied that he had done all he could, yet something was missing in his life and so he asked "What do I still lack?" He knew he was not perfect, that something was the matter, and he wanted to know what to do to gain eternal life.
Jesus loved the young man for he showed earnestness and humility in coming to him in a public manner. Jesus responded "There is still one thing you lack, . . . Sell all you have and give the money to the poorit will become treasure for you in heavenand come, follow me" (Matthew 19:21, Living Bible).
The young mans face fell and he went away very sad for he had great wealth and was unable to consider giving up his luxurious way of life. He did not realize that Jesus meant that he should use his riches in the best ways he could to help others, not that he would have to sell everything he owned all at once. The rewards of following the Lord would be far greater and richer than any of his material possessions.
The parable of the camel going through the eye of the needle illustrates perfectly what Jesus was talking about (Matthew 19:23, 24 New International Version). The "needles eye" was a small gate in the walls of ancient cities. After sundown the main gates were closed. A camel could enter the small gate on its knees as long as all its burdens were first removed. We, too, must remove all that is unnecessary in our lives if we would follow the Lord.
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