Who Can Enter the Kingdom

A rich young man comes to Jesus and bows before him, but Jesus rejects his flattery and then responds t his request, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Certainly eternal life is a worthy request, but his premise is all wrong. He can’t earn it or buy it so Jesus takes him through the commandments, the work he has done to earn eternal life and, with love in his correction, says sell what you have and give to the poor, and then he gets to the most important part, “and come, follow me”. It is in following Jesus that we inherit eternal life. This was too hard a thing, for him to give up his wealth, his lifestyle, his position, but isn’t eternal life worth more than that? God’s thinks and operates differently than we do. As we read the scriptures, it is for our correction. To teach us to think like him.

Go, Sell All That You Have

Mark 10:17-22
Matthew 19:16-22
Luke 18:18-23 

Good Teacher, What Must I Do?

Mark 10:17–22
This rich young man was well trained in the social graces. In Mark 10:17 he “knelt down before him (Jesus) and asked him, ‘Good Teacher …'”.Kneeling is a sign of submission and calling Jesus “Good Teacher” seems like a nice greeting, but Jesus saw it for what it was, flattery. This was not the way. Then Jesus recites the commandments in Mark 10:19 “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, …” and in Mark 10:20 the young man replies “all these I have observed …”. Now, in Mark 10:21 it says “Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him …”. Jesus said the one thing to him that he could not do. As Barclay says, “Jesus confronted him with a challenge. In effect he said, ‘Get out of this moral respectability. Stop looking at goodness as consisting in not doing things. Take yourself and all that you have, and spend everything on others. Then you will find true happiness in time and in eternity.’ The man could not do it. He had great possessions”.1

This is what he had asked Jesus isn’t it? “What must I do?” He did understand that action was needed, and he did understand that the result was eternal life. This young mans request was well informed, he knew the scriptures, “Although some Jews in Jesus’ day denied the possibility of resurrection and eternal life, many others believed that they would be resurrected and granted entrance into the kingdom of God (compare Dan 12:2)”.2

But doing what Jesus asked would have lowered him. To sell all and give it would have made him equal to the poor. He could not believe what Jesus said and put off his wealth now for eternal treasure in heaven.

What Good Thing Must I Do

Matthew 19:16–22
Matthew reveals something more about this young mans thinking. In Matthew 19:16 the young man says, “What good thing must I do so that I will have eternal life”. Jesus recites with him the commandments and he says in Matthew 19:20 “All these I have observed. What do I still lack?” Jesus responds with two things in Matthew 19:21. First he says, “sell what you have and give to the poor”. Then he says, “come follow me”. Sadly, he never got past the first statement, he was held by his wealth and position. He couldn’t manipulate Jesus favor, he couldn’t buy Jesus favor, he never followed and his end is destruction.

Come Follow Me

Luke 18:18–23
Luke records the same event and at the end, in

Luke 18:23 (LEB) But when he* heard these things he became very sad, because he was extremely wealthy.

Who Can Enter the Kingdom

Mark 10:23-31
Matthew 19:23-30
Luke 18:24-30

How Difficult It Is for Those Who Possess Wealth

Mark 10:23–31
Jesus uses the example of a camel going through the eye of a needle to describe how difficult it is for a wealthy person to enter God’s kingdom. This example may be lost on most of us because few people sew, especially by hand, and we don’t have camels but I think we can understand that “Rabbinic Judaism speaks proverbially of “the eye of a needle” as the smallest possible opening (J. N. Sepp, ZDPV 14 [1891] 30–34) … (and) the camel was considered the largest animal in Palestine”.3 

Then Who Can Be Saved?

Matthew 19:23–30
This dialog began with the rich young ruler. He had lived a good life. He had kept the “do not” commandments. Jesus was making a main point with his disciples, in Matthew 19:26 he says, “With human beings this is impossible”. What did he say? “With human beings this (to be saved) is impossible”. There isn’t anything we can do to gain approval with God. And we would surely be “lost and without hope in the world” except that he also said “with God all things are possible”. When we read this “with God all things are possible” we may read it as “because God is all powerful, it is possible”. But I am going to suggest this reading, “when I am walking with God, following after Him, it is possible to be saved”. Didn’t Jesus say to the rich young man, “and come, follow me” in Matthew 19:21? And doesn’t he say in Matthew 19:28 “you who have followed me”? It is this relationship, this fellowship, to be “with God” and being with him that is the power of God to save because “when we become Christians, we enter into a new divine fellowship. We enter into possession of eternal life, the life which is the very life of God”.4

In The Age to Come, Eternal Life

Luke 18:24–30
Jesus disciples had left their way of life. In

Luke 18:28 (LEB) And Peter said, “Behold, we have left all that is ours and followed you.”

And Jesus makes it clear, that there is reward in serving God in

Luke 18:29–30 (LEB) And he said to them, “Truly I say to you that there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children on account of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time and in the age to come, eternal life.”


Workers for His Vineyard

Matthew 20:1–16
This parable of the workers in the vineyard gives great insight into the way God thinks. We think in terms of hourly rate or labor expended. We have our rules of fairness but God rewards based on action in response to his request. In Matthew 20:1-2 the master hires workers and they agree a fair wage. This parable doesn’t say anything about how much work there is in the vineyard or even what kind of work it is. But the master, in Matthew 20:3, 5, 6 goes and hires more workers. Some then work all day, some three hours less, some six hours less and some nine hours less. And at the end of the day, the master pays all the same in Matthew 20:8-10. Why would anyone complain? Think like God in

Matthew 20:15 (LEB) Is it not permitted for me to do whatever I want with what is mine? Or is your eye evil because I am generous?’

If You are the Christ

John 10:22-42

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Matthew 19:16-30
  • Matthew 20:1-16
  • Mark 10:17-31
  • Luke 18:18-30
  • John 10:22-42

The Life and Ministry of Jesus Christ – The Gospels

This series follows the order of readings from the Tyndale One Year Chronological Bible. Covering these events chronologically as they happened, gives a much different context and helps us understand the move of God as He is introducing the Saviour, the Light of the world, Jesus Christ. This series begins with Return To Me And I Will Return To You at the end of Malachi and introduces the “Witnesses” writing the Gospels.

Operation Exodus

is helping Jewish people return to their homeland. You might fund one that desires to go home. http://operationexodususa.org/Overview


  • 1. Barclay, W. (2001). The New Daily Study Bible: The Gospel of Mark (p. 284). Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press.
  • 2. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Mk 10:17). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • 3. Balz, H. R., & Schneider, G. (1990–). Exegetical dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. 3, p. 209). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans.
  • 4. Barclay, W. (2001). The Gospel of Matthew (Third Ed., p. 257). Edinburgh: Saint Andrew Press.