“Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God” (Mk 10:14)
“…he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions” (Mk 10:22)
Back with the Darlington folks this morning and preaching on the fascinating juxtaposition of events which is seen above.
The rich young ruler would be every pastor’s dream convert: young, respectable, seemingly spiritually sensitive…rich! Yet Jesus was able to see past the superficial attractions deep into a heart that was not willing to yield to God.
All three of the synoptic writers place this encounter immediately after Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples for seeking to prevent children from coming to Him. Something about the two events seemingly lead the gospel writers to make a connection. Perhaps the two incidents even occurred on the same day. Certainly the contrast they witnessed must have left an indelible impression upon their minds.
Whilst the children have free access to Christ, the young man finds obstacles are placed in his path. Where they are encouraged to come, he finds that there is a standard to be met before any approach, one that he is not ready to meet.
They come bringing a child’s world of need and dependency.
He comes with a grown man’s proud self-sufficiency
They come simply to be with Jesus. He comes seeking only a ticket to Heaven
They leave with a blessing. He leaves with sadness
It isn’t really money that keeps men out of heaven. It is self-reliance
Money simply helps to breed self-reliance. It isn’t being a child that gets you into Heaven, but rather having a child-like trust and sense of need before a holy God.
And even better than money at dissolving need and trust is the simple process of growing up.
Those who enter the Kingdom of God are those who have renounced all self-sufficiency, who know they have nothing to offer up to Heaven in terms of righteousness, but instead can only bring their child-like need to the throne of grace.
Ironically that young man had once had all the right qualifications to be able to come to Jesus.
But he had lost them. Simply by growing up.
Ultimately his problem was not that he was too rich. Rather that he was too old.