Todays Reading: Matthew 19:13 – 20:16
The love that Christ has for us is unfathomable. What we see in these verses may be confusing for some just because parables can be confusing to understand and be taken in different understandings. So just know that this is what I take away from the reading of Matthew 19:13 – 20:16.
In these verses (and throughout the whole Bible of course) we can see Christ’s love, even thru the many parables that Christ teaches.
In the first of the verses, we read of Jesus blessing the children. As we see in other parts of the New Testament, Jesus loves children. He sees them as what they are, still spiritually immature and still learning. But, in that, they have so much hope, faith, and love they are showing and learning in Jesus and God the Father. What we also can see in these verses is that Jesus still loves us no matter what. No matter how spiritually immature we may be if we keep reading the word, keep trusting in Him, and put our faith, hope, and love in Him, He loves us!
In the next verses (Matthew 19:16 – 22), we read the parable of the rich young ruler. In reading this, my understanding is that this young ruler seemed to want the easy way to get into heaven. He was asking Jesus what else can I do to make sure I get into heaven, however, when Jesus told him to give up his worldly possessions to follow Him, the ruler could not. Jesus is trying to show us, that even though we may “look” like the “perfect” Christian by following all the commandments, reading the word, etc. But, if we don’t truly believe, trust, love, and have faith in Him, then what are we? We must not be of the world and worldly things. We must trust in God that He will provide everything we need! In this parable, we see that the ruler could not give up his possessions to follow Jesus because of his LOVE for his worldly possessions. He had more love for them than he did for Christ.
In the next verses (19:23-30), where he explains possessions and the Kingdom, He states, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven!”
I don’t take it as ALL rich people cannot enter heaven. I truly believe that there are some great truly God-loving “rich” people. However, what I believe Jesus may be saying is the people or “rich” people that will not enter heaven are the ones that have more LOVE of their worldly things, riches, and possessions than they do for our Father in Heaven. But the disciples saw that well… truly as humans we struggle with this every day. So, they ask, “who can be saved?”
“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matt 19:26
Once again, He is stating that humans are sinners no matter what. We will have struggles, tribulations, and everything in this life. But, when we trust in God, all things are possible. God is loving and will forgive us.
Jesus moves onto another parable, The Vineyard Workers. Now with this parable, I truthfully had to read it a couple of times. I wanted to make sure I really grasped what it is saying. We read about the owner of the vineyard going out many times the same day to the marketplace to hire workers. When he goes to pay them, all of them get paid the same, no matter how long they worked. The vineyard owner says, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matt 20:16
We also read earlier in the passage Jesus tells the disciples, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Matt 19:30
I believe what Jesus is trying to teach is that those who are last are those who have given up the world and worldly things for the Kingdom. They may be last in this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven they will be first. God is just, merciful, fair, and forgiving. Even the person who has been sinning their whole life, if at the last moment they give their everything to God, He will be there. He will forgive. He loves no matter what.
In taking all this, there is still so much more to unpack from just these few verses. From what I have read in these verses (and hope you see as well) God’s love is in all of this.