The Kingdom of God

Entrance into the Kingdom (Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15). The touch of Jesus
brought blessings to many. Parents brought their children to Him in order that He might touch them.
They may have been sick or deformed. To place a child into His arms shows complete trust and
acceptance of that one. The disciples viewed this as an unwarranted interruption and sought to turn the
parents away. However, when Jesus saw their actions, He was indignant. His anger was in response to
injured love. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of
heaven belongs to such as these.” “To such as these” indicates that adults must exercise childlike faith to
enter the kingdom. He adds, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a
little child will never enter it.” We need to trust ourselves completely to Christ’s hands—to depend upon
Him.

Riches and Entrance into the Kingdom (Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30). Like
the expert in the law, the rich young ruler ran up to Jesus, “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to
inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God.” Did the
man really believe Jesus was God? If so, would he obey what Jesus said?

Jesus response is basically, “Keep the Ten Commandments.” Nobody, however, is saved by obeying the
Law (Galatians 3:21). Jesus held before the young man the mirror of the Law so he could see how sinful
he was. Jesus did not mention any of the first five of the Ten Commandments, which center on man’s
attitude toward God. He mentions six through nine and stops before ten. “Teacher, he declared, “all
these I have kept since I was a boy.” His response was probably sincere, but far from the truth! Jesus
looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to
the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

This rich young ruler did not have childlike faith. He was depending on His riches. He could not trust
himself to Jesus like the wealthy Matthew did when the same invitation to follow was given. He loved
riches more than God. He could have been the 13th Disciple! At this the man’s face fell. He went away
sad, because he had great wealth.

Jesus calling His disciples “Children” (driving home the point of the two lessons) tells them how hard it is
for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. Abundance is an enemy of the “abundant life.” Riches tend to
destroy the childlikeness of life. Affluence creates a concern for secondary values. It develops a false
sense of security. It can lead to selfishness and self-centeredness. It is the soil that chokes the seed with
weeds.

Jesus goes on to tell His disciples that those who leave family or possessions for Him and the Gospel in
this present age will receive a hundred times as much in the age to come.

The Parable of the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-16). This parable came from the events that followed the
meeting with the rich young ruler. It is explains His paradoxical statement: “But many who are first will
be last, and the last first.” The main spiritual truth Christ brings out is that God has a right to deal with
His servants as He will, according to their motives of service. Connect the parable with Peter’s remarks
in 19:27.

Sacrifice and Power (Matthew 20:17-28; Mark 10:32-45; Luke 18:31-34). He is preparing His
disciples for the crisis He would face in Jerusalem. The first time He spoke of the cross, Peter rebuked
Him; and on this occasion, the mother of James and John came with a selfish request. Jesus speaks to the
disciples (James and John), which suggests it was their request. They were ignorant of what He meant by
the “cup” and the “baptism,” both of which pointed to His suffering and death on Calvary, but they said,
“We are able.” James was the first disciple martyred (Acts 12) and John suffered greatly, exiled on the
Isle of Patmos (Revelation 1:9). The Lord holds us to what we say (Ecclesiastes 5:1-6).

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