Key Passage: Luke 18:31
Big Picture Question: Can a person earn his way into heaven by doing good deeds? No, salvation is a gift from God.
Christ Connection: The rich young ruler loved his possessions more than he loved Jesus. Jesus asks us to be willing to give up everything and follow Him because He is ultimately the only One worth following. Jesus is better than any treasure on earth. As people who know and love Jesus, we receive eternal life.
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. This week, we focused on the rich young ruler in Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; and Luke 18:18-30. Jesus had set out on a journey with His disciples;they were likely heading to Jerusalem. (See Mark 10:32.) Suddenly, a man ran up to meet Jesus. The man knelt before Jesus and asked Him a question: “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus reminded the rich young ruler of the commandments, but by asking him to give up his wealth, Jesus revealed the man’s failure to keep the first commandment—“Do not have other gods besides Me.” The man went away sad because his wealth was his god.
Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were surprised. Wasn’t wealth a sign of God’s favor? Wealthy people could freely give in the synagogue and make sacrifices. If a rich person could not enter God’s kingdom, who could?
Jesus said, “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.” What was Jesus saying? Pushing a piece of thread through the eye of a needle is hard enough, but a several hundred-pound mammal? Impossible!
Being wealthy is certainly not a sin in itself; God often chooses to bless people with wealth. But as the rich young ruler shows, wealth can be a great hindrance when a person loves his wealth more than he loves the One who gave it to him. But Jesus pointed out that all things are possible with God. God has the power to change people’s hearts. Salvation comes by His grace, which enables sinners to repent and follow Jesus.
Then Peter said, “We have left everything and followed You.” The disciples sacrificed a lot to follow Jesus, but Jesus assured them that anything they left behind would pale in comparison to the fellowship of believers and the treasures that awaited them in heaven. Jesus is better than anything He asks us to give up to follow Him. Not only does He offer us Himself, He offers eternal life.
Activity: Hide a surprise for your children somewhere in your home. Give kids instructions to find the treasure. After kids have found the hidden item, read Matthew 19:16-30 together. Ask kids to tell you what the ruler treasured. Discuss some of the items your family treasures and remind kids that a relationship with Jesus and His gift of salvation are the greatest treasures we could ever have.