Luke 18:18-30 (Continued)
In the next part of Jesus’ answer, He tells the man to follow the Law of Moses. We can see here that Jesus isn’t pointing the true way to eternal life because in other places He makes it clear that you can’t gain eternal life by following the Law. We know this because in the first part of the response Jesus said that no one is good. If the commandments of Moses were good enough to get the man into heaven, Jesus would have stopped at the point that the man said He did it all. The fact of the matter is, the man was still lacking. The law could get a man to heaven if there was a man who was good enough. There was only one man who was and it was Jesus.
Good works of any kind are not enough to save us from eternal punishment. We must go to the cross and believe that Jesus did the job of making us good. Notice that Jesus also brings up the point, that the man must give up all of his earthly posessions. We know from what Jesus said earlier that He must give up all of his relationships and even His own life as well to be a disciple. The disciples were the ones who were concerned by this answer. I think they realized that they weren’t even as good as this guy and He wasn’t good enough for Jesus.
I love how Peter says what was on His mind here because it is often on ours when we have doubts about our situation. Peter seeks affirmation from Jesus and Jesus is right there ready to hold up Peter’s faith. Notice, though, that the subject was an eternal reward, not salvation. Sure they needed to give up everything and give themselves away, but it was only to be by Jesus alone on the cross that they were to be saved. For this reason, I believe that it is the “following” that would have saved the man by faith at the cross and the giving up of all things that would have given him a reward in Heaven, showing him to be a true disciple of Jesus. Remember that Jesus discussed this principle in Luke 14:25-27 with His disciples.
Jesus says one of my favorite verses in the Bible in response to Peter. He says: “The things that are impossible with men are possible with God.” That is what Jesus did when He came to earth. He made the impossible possible for all of us. We now can share eternity with Jesus and earn a reward if we live as His disciples here on earth.
My heart goes out to all of those I read about who are suffering great harm in Muslim countries for following Jesus and doing what He says. They have given up their families and their lives. Jesus says they have a reward. Praise God that He doesn’t forget their troubles and will take care of them forever. My heart goes out to those, even in the United States who have been falsely accused in discrimination against Christianity. May they realize the reality of their reward in Heaven.