Who can be saved?

Reflection: Who can be saved?

Jesus replied, “What is impossible for humans is possible for God.”Luke 18:27
Luke 18:18-30
18 A certain ruler asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to obtain eternal life?” 19 Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except the one God. 20 You know the commandments: Don’t commit adultery. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. Honor your father and mother.” 21 Then the ruler said, “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.” 22 When Jesus heard this, he said, “There’s one more thing. Sell everything you own and distribute the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come, follow me.” 23 When he heard these words, the man became sad because he was extremely rich. 24 When Jesus saw this, he said, “It’s very hard for the wealthy to enter God’s kingdom! 25 It’s easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter God’s kingdom.” 26 Those who heard this said, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible for humans is possible for God.” 28 Peter said, “Look, we left everything we own and followed you.” 29 Jesus said to them, “I assure you that anyone who has left house, husband, wife, brothers, sisters, parents, or children because of God’s kingdom 30 will receive many times more in this age and eternal life in the coming age.” CEB

Luke 18:18-30 tells us the very familiar story of a “rich young ruler” who asks Jesus “what must I do to obtain eternal life?” (v. 18 CEB). We may be tempted to see this passage exclusively as way of addressing the dangers of wealth or material possession. However, that would fall short of truly hearing the words of Jesus and understanding the profundity of his statement in v. 27. Here Jesus is speaking of that which money cannot buy. He is is referring to the precious gift that can only be received by grace through faith; the pearl of great and value and the treasure hidden in a field that drives one to gladly sell all possessions to purchase it. Jesus is speaking of salvation.

The rich ruler counted on his own righteousness to receive eternal life. One could imagine the ruler’s pride when Jesus lists the commandments and he can proudly answer “I’ve kept all of these things since I was a boy.” (v. 21) But as Jesus pointed out, still he lacked—“There’s one more thing.” Each of us must examine our hearts for that which we still lack. While money may not be that which we hold most precious, each of us must search our hearts with the clear understanding that through God we have the power to overcome our limitations. Jesus declares that we can move beyond the bounds of our limits and claim that which only God can give us, eternal life.

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