Highlights In Today's Reading:
Christlike living includes forgiveness, faith, and surrender to the will of God as revealed in His Word (17:1-10). Signs that the end is near (17:20-37). Lessons from evil judge (18:1-8); self-righteous Pharisee and humble tax collector who both pray (18:9-14); those with riches (18:18-30); a beggar who would not give up (18:35-43).
Feeling a desperate need, a certain ruler ran to Jesus, and asked Him . . . Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? (18:18-25; Matt. 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31). No question could be of greater importance. To be deceived about the destiny of our soul could mean missing the supreme purpose for our creation. This wealthy young ruler knelt before Jesus with no concern as to what others might think. He rightly believed that Jesus was the Messiah and that, beyond his physical life, there was a real personal existence.
Responding to this most vital question, Jesus said: Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow Me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich (Luke 18:22-23). How it must have broken the heart of our Lord to see one whom He loved turning away, preferring material riches to becoming His disciple.
Note carefully, the ruler's question was not what should he "believe," or "confess," or "pray," but what should he do. Jesus did not criticize the question but answered it and showed him that he really had not kept the Commandments at all. He loved himself and his possesions more than he loved God or his neighbor.
However, this should not be twisted to mean that eternal life can be earned by self-effort or sacrificial giving. It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) (Titus 3:5).
Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone (James 2:17). We must be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (1:22). In our Lord's famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught: Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 6:1). But He also taught: Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
Thought for Today:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (I Pet. 3:15).
17:8 sup =eat, dine; 17:9 trownot =think not; 18:1 faint =give up; 18:3 Avenge =provide justice and protection.
For Luke 18:20: See Ex. 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20.
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Official: Rep. Zach Wamp (TN) • Country: Iran (66.2 million) in southwestern Asia • Major languages: Farsi and Turki • Hostile to all Christian activity • 87% Shi'a; 12% Sunni; .5% Baha'i; .4% Christian; .03% Jewish; .04% Parsi (Zoroastrian); .03% Other • Prayer Suggestion: What a comfort to know that we depend upon the strength of the Lord (Ps. 71:16).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:20