Prov 24-25; Matt 19; Psalm 84-85
The Kingdom of God is one of great reversals – Blessed are those who to our eyes do not appear to be blessed. The least, the children, to them belongs the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus, the Living Gospel, reverses all that we hold to be true. To be rich is no blessing – to have nothing is to inherit the earth – the first shall be last and the last first.
The parallel between the children and the rich young man is stark, but we often do not hear them in the juxtaposition which the evangelists present us with. Here the metaphor of reversal is made absolutely clear. In the eyes of the world the rich male has it all. Of course, we might argue that it is all a matter of degrees, that ‘perfection’ is not required of us – but this ‘perfection’ is commanded. ‘Be perfect, as your heavenly father is perfect’.
It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven – this is Jesus’ plain teaching. For it is not that we have possessions, but that they have us. We may well say – they mean nothing to me, but when the demands of the Kingdom stare us in the face, in the face of one who has nothing, a child, a hungry person, a homeless person . . . all of a sudden they mean much to us.
All too readily we sink back into a form of Christianity which denies the plain teaching of Jesus. And miss out on Life.
This life is revealed in Peter’s outburst. they have left what seems to be much, but they have inherited far far more. Whatever we leave behind to follow Jesus, is as nothing compared with that which we find. There is no gold or palace or indeed bond of kinship which is not rendered invisible in comparison with the treasure of Life in the Kingdom.
Our problem is that we do not believe this