Proper 24 Series B
Hebrews 4:1–13 (14–16)
By the Voluntary Poverty of Christ, We Enter the Kingdom of God
Collect for Proper 24 – O God, the protector of all who trust in You, have mercy on us that with You as our ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
To love and trust in earthly wealth is vanity. For nothing of this earth will last forever, nor can any of it grant eternal life (Ecclesiastes 5:10). But the one who trusts in God is “occupied with joy in his heart” and is able to sleep in peace, “whether he eats little or much,” because he knows that the “days of his life” are “the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:12, 18–20). The person who trusts in riches cannot sleep, because he “shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand” (Ecclesiastes 5:15). Therefore, it is difficult, “for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 20:23). Indeed, it is impossible for man, yet “all things are possible with God” (Mark 20:27). Thus, the Rich Man, Jesus Christ, has made Himself poor and has gone through “the eye of a needle,” through death and the grave, “to enter the kingdom of God” on our behalf " (Mark 20:24–25). He is the “great high priest who has passed through the heavens” (Hebrews 4:14), so that we may now enter His Sabbath rest by faith in His forgiveness (Hebrews 4:3–9).
Jesus predicts His trial, execution, and resurrection for the third time, while walking boldly to His death. Jesus goes to die the sinners' death, accepting the Law's penalty in our place. Faith looks to Christ crucified and risen and says, "for me!" Luther - "Who is this "me?" It is I, an accursed and damned sinner, who was so beloved by the Son of God that He gave Himself for me." (AE 26:176)
-Sunday's Gospel is a continuation of last week's. After the rich young man went away sorrowful, Jesus takes the opportunity to educate His disciples in the barrier that great wealth poses to one's salvation. The temptation is to trust in the riches, rather than the rest of them.
In fact, it is impossible, not only for the wealthy, but for anyone to earn His salvation by any means, even good works. Who can be saved? They ask, Who, indeed? None can, if he relies on himself. It is only by God's grace that anyone can be saved, yet all things are possible with God.
Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ• Πῶς δυσκόλως οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελεύσονται.
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”
-Difficult it is for those having wealth to enter into the kingdom of God. It's difficult...but they get in.
οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις αὐτοῦ. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτοῖς• Τέκνα, πῶς δύσκολόν [a]ἐστιν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν•
And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God!
-The disciples marveled at this word, children how difficult it is to enter into the kingdom. Jesus no longer speaks of wealth but the kingdom.
- Some manuscripts add "for those who trust in riches"
εὐκοπώτερόν ἐστιν κάμηλον διὰ [b]τῆς τρυμαλιᾶς τῆς ῥαφίδος [c]διελθεῖν ἢ πλούσιον εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ θεοῦ εἰσελθεῖν.
it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”
-Easier it is for the camel through the eye of the needle to enter than for a rich man to enter the kingdom.
-C.S Lewis reminds us, the camel has to die! “All things (e.g. a camel's journey through A needle's eye) are possible, it's true. But picture how the camel feels, squeezed out. In one long bloody thread, from tail to snout.” – C.S. Lewis, Poems
οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες πρὸς [d]ἑαυτούς• Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι;
And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[b] “Then who can be saved?”
-They were exceedingly astonished, so who then shall be saved? The center of the text finds the biggest animal and the smallest opening.
- Some manuscripts add, “and said to one another”
A way to divide the text as follows, "the gaze of Jesus," "difficult," and "amazed."
[e]ἐμβλέψας αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει• Παρὰ ἀνθρώποις ἀδύνατον ἀλλ’ οὐ παρὰ θεῷ, πάντα γὰρ [f]δυνατὰ παρὰ τῷ θεῷ.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
-Looking/gazing at them Jesus says, with man yes, but not with God all things are possible.
Ἤρξατο [g]λέγειν ὁ Πέτρος αὐτῷ• Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν πάντα καὶ [h]ἠκολουθήκαμέν σοι.
Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.
-Peter began to say, right here and now, The verbs are in the perfect tense, “we have left everything!”
[i]ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, οὐδείς ἐστιν ὃς ἀφῆκεν οἰκίαν ἢ ἀδελφοὺς ἢ ἀδελφὰς ἢ [j]μητέρα ἢ πατέρα ἢ τέκνα ἢ ἀγροὺς ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου,
Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel,
-Those who have released homes, brothers, etc.
ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ ἑκατονταπλασίονα νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ οἰκίας καὶ ἀδελφοὺς καὶ ἀδελφὰς καὶ [k]μητέρας καὶ τέκνα καὶ ἀγροὺς μετὰ διωγμῶν, καὶ ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ ζωὴν αἰώνιον
who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
-Will he not receive 100 times in this life, these things and persecutions and, in the coming age, eternal life.
πολλοὶ δὲ ἔσονται πρῶτοι ἔσχατοι καὶ [l]οἱ ἔσχατοι πρῶτοι.
But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
-Many who are first will be last and those last will be first.
English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
Lutheran Service Book Copyright © 2006 Concordia Publishing, St. Louis