TODAY’S READING: Matthew 19; Mark 10
All three synoptic Gospels mention the encounter of Jesus and the rich young ruler, and they all have the same point, a point we tend to soften or miss: It is impossible for a rich man to get into heaven. We squirm and do hermeneutical gymnastics to avoid wrestling with what Jesus said. He plainly said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Our gymnastics of discomfort led us to the ridiculous notion that there was a small gate called “Camel” and a camel had to hobble through it—difficult but doable. Nonsense. Jesus bluntly said that a rich man cannot enter heaven.
Understanding the “already, not yet” nature of the Kingdom, Jesus did not refer to the generalized authority of Jesus over Christians in the now (real as that must be); He spoke of the Kingdom to come. His repeated default understanding of the Kingdom was the great day of the Lord and following, so He said to the rich young ruler, “You want eternal life and heaven? You can’t get there rich. You will have to use all your wealth here on earth, for when you die you won’t take a cent with you.”
The application: It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, we all enter heaven penniless. No rich man can enter heaven. It is impossible to take one penny with you, so be sure to spend all your pennies here on earth. What a waste if you reach the end of your life and have money in the bank, money that could have been used for gospel glory. Spend your money as you spend your life—poured out for Jesus. Let’s enter the grave spent and broke. And if we are so because we gave all to the gospel preached among all unreached peoples, great will be our eternal riches indeed.
Mark 10:45 is the classic text on servant greatness—it’s also a missions text. Jesus told His disciples that the Son of Man will win those peoples to Himself by dying for them (vv. 33–34). Jesus, knowing He will soon send His disciples to be His witnesses, referenced how the Gentiles exercise authority (v. 42) and in effect said: “As you spread out and cover the earth as missionaries, you will see various leadership models. Remember the way that we save the nations is by dying for them, the way that we serve the nations is by giving them the gospel at the cost of our own freedom and life.” We cannot divorce this great text from its context: Jesus dying for all the peoples of earth. Servant leadership is predicated on laying down our lives for the unreached of the earth that they may be saved. Even more biblical to say: Servanthood is to go into all the world as missionaries and serve the gospel to all peoples at great cost to ourselves, not to be served at home or entertained at church with no cost to our pocketbook or person. Let’s spend all our life and money on seeing representatives of every people group in heaven. It’s the one thing we all still lack.
 Matt. 19:16–30; Mark 10:17–31; Luke 18:18–30