... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Through the prayers of our holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us. Amen. Glory to You, our God, Glory to You.
O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, You are everywhere and fill all things, Treasury of blessings, and Giver of life: come and abide in us, and cleanse us from every impurity, and save our souls, O Good One.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us (three times).
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, as it is now, was in the beginning, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
All-holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, cleanse us from our sins. Master, pardon our iniquities. Holy One, visit us and heal our infirmities for Your Name’s sake. Lord have mercy (three times).
August 31, 2014 Sunday Sermon, Interpretation
Matthew 19:16-26 King James Version, Edited and Paraphrased
Behold, one came and said to [Jesus], Teacher, “What good shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” [Jesus] said to him, “Why do you ask me about goodness? One is the good:  now, if you wish enter into the life, heed the commandments.” He said unto him, “Which?” Jesus said, “You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness. Honor your father and your mother. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “I have kept watch over all of these things. What do I lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be perfect, depart, sell what you have, give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then, come, follow Me.” When the young man heard the Word, he went away grieving: for he had many possessions.
Then said Jesus to his disciples, “In all reality I say to you that a rich man shall enter the kingdom of heaven with difficulty.” Again I say to you, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
When his disciples heard it, they were violently agitated, saying, “Then who is able to be saved?”
Jesus looking on them said, “With men this is impossible; yet, with God, all things are possible.
Denial must be a river in Egypt. We must not have been listening last Sunday for the reading of the parable of the Unjust Steward in Matthew 18:23-35. Invariably, I have heard this preached as an exceptional requirement, tailored only for this young man. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
To be sure, this passage has been pressed to excess. People have sold everything to wait for the kingdom of God to arrive. Some of these were devastated, when what they expected failed to come to pass. However, that which we expect, is not what God said would happen.
There is far too much emphasis on the expectation of the kingdom of God to come. The fact that the Holy Ghost came on the Day of Pentecost in 33 AD, and established the kingdom of God among us, with great power and Glory is conveniently ignored. This is The Church, the tongues of fire signifying that the Shəkinah is within us, through the baptism of the Holy Ghost: for Jesus promised that we would be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire: the fire also signifying the nature of the tribulation that all Christians will suffer.
The young man is not told to sell all that he has, and wait for the kingdom to come. The young man is commanded to sell all that he has, give it to the poor, and follow Jesus. The disciple of Christ cannot enter heaven clinging to riches. Such disciples must forsake their place of leadership, to join the ranks of the poor. This young man who has never worked a day in his life, may have to work as a day laborer, with other men and women, toiling for the minimum wage of that day. He will not be allowed to sit on his laurels, but will find it necessary to follow Jesus, thus learning the painful lesson of trusting God for manna, one day at a time.
The point of the passage is that no one can love both God and mammon. Many things are an obstacle to following Christ, and must be abandoned in order to grasp the greater priority of following Him.
A young person may be gifted for engineering, law, medicine, or other lucrative pursuit only to discover that the service of Christ requires him or her to work exclusively among the poor, pro bono, as dependent on God for daily sustenance and direction as any other poor person.
The pages of Church history are littered with the testimonies of people from backgrounds of enormous wealth, who forsook all: built churches, hospitals, monasteries, and schools. Finally they continued by laboring in these institutions with little or no financial reward: nothing beyond food, clothing, and shelter. These took up lives of sacrifice, service, sharing, and suffering, instead of lives of power, prominence, and wealth. They denied all, to follow Him.
To all such Christ promises that He will provide for their needs in such a way that they will become doers of God’s will.
The only call of Christ is to follow Him. Since Christ’s life is a life of sacrifice, service, sharing, and suffering; the only possible way to follow Him is in a life of sacrifice, service, sharing, and suffering. Those who seek another path are no disciples at all. All Christians are called to vows of poverty, not to live in palaces owned by churches and kings, but to be really poor, poor in spirit. This is the only way.
 Many manuscripts have Good Teacher. Since this is at least as old as Justin Martyr (100-165) and Irenaeus (d. 202) it may be the original. It provides a shred of evidence that the Byzantine text preserves the original. If it is an interpretive comment from Justin and Irenaeus it shows from the earliest times that this discussion is not really about goodness in the abstract. The main point may lie beneath the surface, but the main point remains that Jesus is the Good One, about Whom we read. It may merely be the subtlety of the point that requires further interpretation for unlearned hearers. On the other hand, it could very well be the original.
 Or, another reading in the next clause, also supported by Irenaeus (d. 202), may be the true original; “Why do you me call good? No one is good except One, Who is, God;” clarifies the matter somewhat: yet, what other conclusion could be drawn. To the Jew, God is the only One Who is truly good. The inquirer has just called Jesus good. Either that is unvarnished flattery, therefore an evil lie; or it is the truth, which makes Jesus, God. The inquirer is forced to think about what he is asking. Only two conclusions are really possible in either reading of the text. Both readings lead to the same conclusion: either Jesus is God, or Jesus is evil. Jesus cannot simply be a good man, not to a Jew. The clarification is necessary for those unfamiliar with Judaism; therefore it is useful for pulpit reading; yet, because of its age, may be the original text. Here is another shred of evidence that the Byzantine text preserves the original.
 It is remotely possible that the eye of a needle is a personnel door set within or beside larger main gates to allow individuals access to the city after the main gates were shut at night. A camel would have to be unloaded and walk on its knees to get through such a small door. It is also very remotely possible that the word camel was mistaken for rope. There is a paucity of evidence for such obfuscations and they merely detract from the force of the point.
 The disciples were as upset with this teaching, or even more upset than the young man was. What upset them so much was that they understood perfectly well how this applied to them. They were upset, not because they got it wrong, but because they got it right. We do great disservice to the Word of God when we explain its fundamental meaning away. This common requirement for all disciples requires Divine assistance to achieve.
 Another dodge of the truth is to proclaim that this is the teaching of pure Law and is distinct from the Gospel. Yet another dodge of the truth is the teaching that this is the Gospel of the Kingdom, which belongs to a different dispensation than the Gospel of Grace. Many wish to see grace without requirements. However, covenant grace always has requirements. Some wish to apply this exclusively to professional episkopoi (elders), presbyteroi (presbyters), and diakonoi (deacons and deaconesses). This passage teaches profound principles for all disciples of Christ, including all the laity.
 It seems that a day’s wages in the first century was sufficient to sustain a man and his family. Today’s minimum wage won’t even sustain the worker, let alone a family.
 Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13
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