God’s Renewing Word of Love
Luke 18:15-30: Today’s reading begins with an account of Jesus blessing little children followed by Jesus’s encounter with a rich man who asks him what he must do to receive eternal life. These two accounts are set side by side, perhaps as a way of intentionally conveying status reversal. In Jesus’s day, wealth was associated with power, status, and social privilege and children were considered powerless. Welcoming the powerless would normally bring no honor; but, in welcoming children, Jesus offers a new teaching about God’s Kingdom, turning upside down the status of children and the status associated with wealth.
Jesus Blesses Little Children
(Matthew 19.13-15; Mark 10.13-16)
15Some people brought their babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so, 16but Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
The Rich Man
(Matthew 19.16-30; Mark 10.17-31)
18A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?”
19“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’”
21The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.”
22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich.
24Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
26The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”
27Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.”
28Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.”
29“Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”
Today’s Key Verse: Luke 18:17
[Jesus said:] “Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
What did the disciples do when people brought their children to Jesus? How did Jesus respond? Reread verse 17. What do you think it means to “receive the Kingdom of God like a child?” How does Jesus respond to the rich man who asks Jesus what he must do to receive eternal life (verse 22)? What is the rich man’s reaction (verse 23)? Reread verses 24 and 25. How do Jesus’s words in these verses compare to what he says in verse 17?
Lord Jesus, in faith I seek to receive God’s Kingdom like a child. Whenever I feel as if I don’t have as much as I need or as much as I want, remind me of your abundant blessings and to share my resources freely and lovingly as an expression of my trust and faith in you. Amen.
John 3:1-21: A religious leader meets with Jesus at night.