- Matt. 19:3-12
- Mark 10:10-27
- Matt. 19:27-30
- Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34
- Matt. 20:20-23; Mark 10:35-45
- Luke 19:1-10
- Mark 10:46-52; Luke 18:35-43
- Luke 19:11-28
- John 11:55-57
- Matt. 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-11
Jesus has begun His trip to Jerusalem, marching toward His quickly-approaching death. Along the way, He stops in Jericho and Bethany. In today’s reading, Jesus deals with two individuals regarding the love of money. These are two well-known events for many Bible students, but many might be surprised that they occur so close together.
17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”
20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” 21 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.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
(Mark 10:17-27 NIV)
The second event occurred in the town of Jericho, as Jesus traveled west toward Jerusalem.
1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.
7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”
(Luke 19:1-10 NIV)
The rich young man from the first encounter had lived a law-abiding life, whereas Zacchaeus had lived a sinful life. Both men were rich. Both men were seeking Jesus. Jesus took the opportunity to love and to teach both men. Zacchaeus left his encounter with Jesus as a saved man, whereas the rich young man left his encounter sad. What was the difference? The difference was that the rich young man loved his money and his possessions more than Jesus, whereas Zacchaeus happily gave up his possessions in order to be forgiven and accepted by the LORD.
A very important life principle taught in the New Testament is:
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(1 Tim. 6:9-11)
We need to be like Zacchaeus and be willing to give up those things we’ve acquired, whether honestly or dishonestly, in order to follow Jesus. Remember that our LORD said that if we love anything more than Him we are not worthy to be His disciple.
One final important point from Zacchaeus: Jesus told Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to this house…” This is true in multiple ways. Not only did Zacchaeus receive salvation because of his repentance, but Jesus IS salvation—He is the way, the truth and the life! Jesus personally provides salvation. He is the only source by which we can be saved. Don’t miss the significance of this statement.