Lesson 87: Jesus Blessed Little Children / The Rich Young Ruler
Matt. 19:13-30, Mark 10:13-31, Luke 18:15-30
A Blending of The Four Gospel Records. Welcome again! This is lesson #87. It was Jesus' last trip to Jerusalem before his death and resurrection. This lesson takes place somewhere in Perea; apparently at the same time or near the same time the Pharisees came to Jesus about divorce. We're going to read 3 verses from Matthew, 4 from Mark, and 3 from Luke. We'll begin in Matt. 19:13. Are you ready? "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me; for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence." O.K. Mark's account of the same event. Mark 10:13-16. Are you ready? Mark 10:13. ".And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them" O.K. one more time, Luke 18:15-17. You need to keep your book markers working. Let's read beginning in Luke 18:15. "And they brought unto him also infants, that he should touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."
Alright, you should have this memorized after reading it three times. What do these verses teach us? You should note that this follows the section of marriage and divorce. Children should be a natural result of marriage. Now, why did these mothers bring these children to Jesus? "That he should put his hands on them and pray." What did Jesus do? "He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them." It was the desire of the mothers that Jesus do this. The disciples undoubtedly thought they were troubling Jesus; so, they sought to stop it. But, Jesus insisted on these mothers bring their children to Jesus. Jesus saw in the children an innocence and purity that reminded him of those that should enter into His kingdom, the church. Small children show complete trust in adults. They are very forgiving. They do not hold grudges like adults. Thus, if you study the characteristics of a child; you find there, Jesus said, the characteristics that he wants in his church. And even further than that; Jesus said (Mark 10:15), "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall NOT receive the kingdom of God AS a little child, he shall NOT ENTER therein." And there is a great message in that statement. For those who use these passages as authority for infant baptism and infant church membership; they have missed the point. These verses do not require or even allow such. Study the context close, it says "as a little child", "of such is the kingdom...". Jesus' statement is a comparison.
O.K. let's read about the Rich Young Ruler. We'll do Matthew, Mark and Luke the same way. These verses follow the verses we just read. Back to Matthew! Beginning in Matt. 19:16. We'll read through the end of the chapter. Are you ready? Beginning in v.16. "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. Then said Jesus unto his disciples. Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, that for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto the, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first."
Alright, we're going to read Mark and Luke before we discuss the Rich Young Ruler. So, Mark 10:17 is where we start. Are you ready? Beginning in Mark 10:17. Let's read! "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeling to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasures in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first."
O.K. that leave Luke. We'll start in Luke 18:18, The Rich Young Ruler. Let's read, beginning in Luke 18:18. "And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, the things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."
Alright, get your book markers working. Undoubtedly it was several weeks from the time that Jesus and the disciples left Ephraim through Samaria and Galilee where he cleansed the 10 lepers and came eventually to Perea. Jesus had given the parable of the widow and the Judge and the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in Perea. The Pharisees had come to him with the question on Marriage and Divorce. Some mothers had brought their children to Jesus and he blessed them. But finally, Jesus and his disciple headed toward Jerusalem a week or two before the passover in AD 33. It was apparently after they had started for Jerusalem and the caravans of travelers were heading for the capital city that this young man interviewed with Jesus. Mark said (v.17) "when he was gone forth into the way", i.e. Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem; "there came one running, and kneeling to him..." In Matt. 19:20, 22, he is referred to as a young man. In Luke 18:18, that writer called him "a certain ruler". All three writers said: "he had great possessions." So, he was a RICH, YOUNG, RULER. And he must have been energetic for he came running. He kneeled to Jesus and it is obvious that he wanted to be a disciple of Jesus in some form or another. Now, analyze his question, when he kneeled to Jesus, he asked: "Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" So, that rich, young man certainly had a good question. He apparently used the words, "Good Master" loosely not realizing how appropriate it really was. Then, Jesus answered his question, how to inherit eternal life. NOW, it is very significant that YOU observe this man's question AND Jesus' answer very closely. Because about two months later, after Jesus died on the cross, arose from the dead and ascended into heaven; more than 3000 people asked that same question, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" NOW GET THIS! They were given a different answer. Because they were believers in Jesus Christ as God's Son, they were told to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. But, Jesus told this young man, "keep the commandments." (Matt. 19:17). I trust you understand that the kingdom or church came into being during that next sixty day period and the rules for being saved were THEREFORE different. It's interesting in v.18 that the young man asked, "Which?", i.e. which commandments? Now, I infer from that; this young man had heard of Jesus and he most likely had heard that Jesus was going to bring a new law. So, this young man wanted to know: Which commandments? But, Jesus clearly made reference to the Mosaic Law. Jesus even quoted the last half of the ten commandments and then summarized them by saying, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The young man said (I'm paraphrasing), OH yes! Those! I have kept those commandments all my life. And, there's no reason to believe the young man had not kept the ten commandments to the best of his ability and understanding. Mark 10:21 said, "Jesus beholding him loved him..." But, it seems he wanted some SPECIAL THING to do, something extra that would earn heaven right "now. Matthew's account says he asked, "What lack I yet?" (v.20). He thought heaven was a reward for DOING, not for BEING. And, that same concept is still among us today. Look at his question AGAIN in Matt. 19:16, "Good Master, WHAT GOOD THING shall I do, that I might have eternal life?" It seems he was looking for some big meritorious act he could do, then and there, that would assure him of eternal life. He had NOT LEARNED Jesus' unprofitable servant concept (Luke 17:10). So, Jesus TOLD HIM what do. Now, the point here is: Jesus got to the bottom of his attitude, pronto! "Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor..." V.22 says, "he WENT AWAY sorrowful: for he had great possessions." Do you remember the parables on stewardship? Luke ch. 16? Now, there's nothing in the N.T. that teaches it's wrong to have possessions. But, we MUST BE good stewards of those goods. O.K., please notice something! Jesus DID NOT go running after that bright, rich, ambitious, aspiring, promising, young man and say: come back son, I'll change the rules for you. The rules are the same for every disciple, rich or poor, black or white, educated or uneducated. Jesus drew the line; we walk the chalk. So, believe in Jesus, learn the rules, live by the rules, be a good steward, have a good life, and go home to heaven. But, can you imagine the expression on the face of all the disciples when that young man walked away? Jesus looked those disciples right straight in the eye and said, "Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." That didn't quite get their full attention; so Jesus made a second statement: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Boy, that got their attention! Matthew, being one of them, said. "they were exceedingly amazed..." You know why? They kept having little fantasies in the back of their mind about being officers in a great earthly kingdom. But, if being rich prevented them from being saved; that shattered their hope. Like I said, Jesus got their attention. Now, some have tried to soften up Jesus’ statement by claiming that when Jesus mentioned a needle's eye; he was talking about a little gate in the wall of the city where only people could go through and a camel had to get down on its knees to go through. But, that's not true! Jesus was talking about a sewing needle. How do I know? Look at the reaction of the apostles. Jesus said it was impossible. They wanted to know: "Who then can be saved?" Look at Jesus' answer! With men it's impossible! But, there is hope in God. God can do it, men can't! Do you remember Peter? quick! impetuous! Peter said, "Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" Jesus told the twelve apostles "in the regeneration" i.e. during the earthly phase of Jesus' kingdom the apostles would sit on thrones, judging Israel, i.e. spiritual Israel, which is another way of saying the church. During the apostles lifetime they done the loosing and the binding. Do you remember Matt. 16:19?Then in v.29 of Matthew's account, Jesus spoke of "EVERY ONE" that has sacrificed for the kingdom. Are you in that verse? I'll let you read it. Read Mark and Luke real close. It's a great promise. Until our next lesson, have a good day.