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“You Get What You Pay For”

“You Get What You Pay For”   Lk 18:15-30, 2Tim:4:6-8, 16-18 Joel 2:23-32

Luke’s gospel this week reveals several warnings by Jesus concerning the criteria for eternal life.

Jesus first sets the condition of membership of the Kingdom (vv15-17): one must foster those qualities normally associated with children – trust, honesty, obedience, playfulness, transparency, sense of wonder, acceptance and love.

Then in his conversation with a wealthy Jewish leader, Jesus underlines the great cost of true discipleship that cannot be measured in worldly terms. Even the Apostle Peter seems to miss the point, and is gently corrected by his Master [vv28-30]. Such a treasure as eternal life cannot be bought cheaply.

Our Hebrew scripture passage from Joel holds out the promise of future blessings after a terrible time of plagues and desolation. We are reminded that God’s promises are true. A wise saying goes, ‘With God, things always work out in the end. If they haven’t yet, then it’s not the end.’

In our Epistle, Paul is aware that his life is nearing the end, and he writes that he has, “fought the good fight,… finished the race, …kept the faith” despite being deserted by his supporters – except, of course, the Lord, who makes such faithfulness possible. 

Yet, even in the midst of his considerable troubles, Paul recognises the Lord’s handiwork. Do we recognise God at work amongst our own?

 

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2 Timothy 4: 6-8, 16-18        As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Luke 18: 15-30       15 Some people brought their children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so, 16  but Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17  Remember this! Whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”

18  A Jewish leader asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what must I do to receive eternal life?” 19  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.  20  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery; do not commit murder; do not steal; do not accuse anyone falsely; respect your father and your mother.’ ” 21  The man replied, “Ever since I was young, I have obeyed all these commandments.” 22  When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “There is still one more thing you need to do. Sell all you have and give the money to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; then come and follow me.” 23  But when the man heard this, he became very sad, because he was very rich. 24  Jesus saw that he was sad and said, “How hard it is for rich people to enter the Kingdom of God! 25  It is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

26  The people who heard him asked, “Who, then, can be saved?”

27  Jesus answered, “What is humanly impossible is possible for God.”

28  Then Peter said, “Look! We have left our homes to follow you.”

29  “Yes,” Jesus said to them, “and I assure you that anyone who leaves home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the Kingdom of God 30  will receive much more in this present age and eternal life in the age to come.”