“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 ESV
There was a rich young man that came to Jesus asking “what good deed must I do to have eternal life.” It is clear in his action that he knew that Jesus offered something he could not receive elsewhere. Jesus tells the young man in order to have eternal life he needs to keep the commandments. The young man in return asks specifically which commandments. Jesus lists some but not all of the Ten Commandments, omitted were man’s relationship with God (1,2,3) and covetousness (9,10). In coming to see Jesus, he demonstrated a willingness to have a right relationship with God. When asked what else he needed to do, Jesus tells him to “sell what you have and give to the poor.” The young man went away sad because he was unwilling to let go of his riches, he could not overcome his covetousness. He was looking for an easy deed to complete his checklist for eternal life but was not willing to make the necessary changes in his heart. Jesus goes on to say it is very hard for the rich to enter into the kingdom of God. The disciples who witnessed this interaction are in despair. I can imagine them throwing up their hands when they say, “who then can be saved?” The response is our verse from today. It is impossible for man to save himself, that is something only God can do. It is not a “to-do” list where we check off items, it is a change in our hearts. This is not simply a story of one rich young man, but a lesson to all of us about our willingness to submit fully to God. For most of us, this is probably not money, but something that is holding us back from enjoying a more complete relationship with God.
God, we give you thanks for your plan of salvation. We know that we cannot save ourselves but we can submit ourselves fully to you. Like the rich young man, there may be things holding us back from having the relationship you desire for us. Help us we pray. Amen.