Leave It All Behind
2. What did the rich young man ask Jesus in verse 16? What are some of your observations about the question?
3. How did Jesus answer the man’s question (v. 17)?
4. Upon hearing Jesus’ answer, the rich young man asked Jesus which commandments he must keep. Jesus pointed him to the commandments related to the love of neighbor (see Exodus 20:12-16 and Leviticus 19:18). In the space below, write down the commandments Jesus listed in verses 18-19.
5. How did the young man respond to Jesus, after Jesus listed the commands (v 20)?
What does his response tell you about his understanding of the commandments? Where do you find this same view of God’s commands today?
6. Jesus identified what this man’s idol was and responded accordingly. What was the exchange this young man needed to make, according to Jesus? Why?
7. What did the young man’s response in verse 22, reveal about him?
8. In verses 23-25, Jesus told the disciples that it is difficult for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven (to have eternal life). What is it about wealth that makes salvation so difficult?
9. Indeed, the picture Jesus painted in verse 24, of a camel and the eye of the needle, wasn’t intended to suggest, “it’s really hard,” but that it’s impossible. Thus, the disciples were “greatly astonished” (v. 25). Based on their realization of this impossibility, what was their question to Jesus? Why do you think they asked him that?
10. In verse 26, Jesus responded to their question by sharing with the disciples the only hope for the wealthy, as well as anyone else who wants eternal life. What did he say?
Read Matthew 27:57 and Luke 19:1-10. How do the two men in these texts reveal the power of God that Jesus was talking about in our Scripture lesson?
What change of perspective did each of these men make, compared to who they were before they decided to follow Jesus?
11. Read verses 27-30. Peter made a case for why he and the other disciples did what the rich young man would not do. Peter wanted to know if there would be any reward in store for their faithfulness. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus said much about the difficulty of being his disciple. Those who would follow him must count the cost and deny themselves.
In verse 28, Jesus said the disciples would indeed be rewarded for leaving everything to follow him. He then followed up in verse 29 by saying all who did likewise would also inherit eternal life. What things did Jesus list that must be left behind to follow him (v. 29)?
What does that “leaving behind” look like, practically?
12. Some scholars believe that Matthew 20:1-16 was a subtle rebuke by Jesus, related to Peter’s comments in verse 27. Read Matthew 20:1-6. How does it relate to this lesson? Do you see why some believe it is a rebuke? Why or why not?
13. Take another look at the commands you wrote down in Question 4. Based on what you know about the teachings of Jesus, write down what each command really means. Read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, and 7) for help. (Also, Questions & Answers 104 – 115 of The Heidelberg Catechism are very helpful on this matter. You can find the catechism online for free.)
What are three key points you would make if you were explaining to a friend what it means to keep the commands of God?
What response should a proper understanding of the true nature of “keeping God’s commands” elicit from a person? Why is that an important response to have?
14. What, in your life, would Jesus have told you to leave behind, in order to follow him? In other words, what is your idol that is holding you back from fully and faithfully following Jesus?
What can you do, beginning today, to remove that idol from your life? Will you do it?
15. Do your issues with money ever hinder your walk with Christ? Explain. What does Jesus say about serving two masters in Matthew 6:24?
What can you do in your life, with God’s grace, to help you resist the temptation of making money your master, instead of Christ?