SALVATION IS POSSIBLE ONLY THROUGH JESUS.
In the name + of Jesus.
A rich man came to Jesus to ask what he had to do to gain eternal life. Don’t presume that he was some slimy, conniving business man. He claimed that he had kept the Commandments, so he was likely a decent, honorable man. But even so, something was gnawing at him. He knew that he lacked what he needed for eternal salvation. But what could it be? He was obedient. He was respectable. He was helpful. What else did he have to do to seal the deal and secure his salvation?
“One thing you still lack,” Jesus answered. “Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. (Luke 18:22-23) Jesus showed this rich, young ruler that he was not as good a judge as he thought; for, he had misjudged himself. None of us is as good as we judge ourselves to be. As honorable as this man may have appeared to others, he was an idolater. He boasted that he had kept the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Commandments, but he had not even kept the 1st! He harbored in his heart a deep love for power and wealth, and he was not willing to part from them. He had yearned to know what he had to do to enter the
These are hard words—scary words!—for people living in and near the city of
The rich, young ruler walked away sad. The people who remained stood there alarmed; for, they envied the rich, young ruler. They wanted to be like him. They hoped their children would grow up to be like him. Rather than feel smug, the people were scared: “Then who can be saved?” (Luke 18:26)
Understand the lesson: Salvation is possible only through Jesus. You cannot gain your place in the
The rich, young ruler who came to Jesus recognized that he could not do what it takes to gain the
Jesus is the rich, young ruler who saves you. Though he reigns on high, this supreme ruler of the universe gave up all things to deliver you from your sins. He subjected himself to the same Commandments which you must obey. He submitted to his Lord and rendered humble and perfect obedience. Though he is true God, Jesus did not boss his way around. Though he possesses all power, he lived in weakness. Though he is the judge of all mankind, he submitted himself to the mockery of liars, schemers, and connivers who made themselves his judge. They condemned Jesus for saying he is the Son of God, and they crucified the Lord of Glory and the King of the universe.
Salvation is possible only through Jesus. You know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor so that you, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9) Jesus possesses all things, yet was born in poverty and died in poverty. But Jesus’ death means that the riches of salvation and of heaven are yours. His holy precious blood has paid the price for sins and has purchased your salvation. In your baptism, Jesus poured upon you the everlasting riches of forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. He has made you heirs of a kingdom whose glory does not fade, whose benefits cannot be taken away, whose worth is never devalued, and whose riches are beyond measure.
While God grants you wealth to employ and to enjoy in this world, he urges you not to fear, love, or trust these things. The one who gives them is far more trustworthy. Unlike your wealth, the Lord loves you. Unlike your wealth, Jesus has paid the price to redeem you. Unlike your wealth, Jesus gives you better gifts with everlasting benefits. Salvation is possible only through Jesus. God is your Savior; and therefore, you lack nothing for your salvation.
In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.