Matthew 6:20, ESV

...but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.


Mark 10:17-19, NIrV

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him. He fell on his knees before Jesus. “Good teacher,” he said, “what must I do to receive eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good except God. 19 You know what the commandments say. ‘Do not murder. Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not be a false witness. Do not cheat. Honor your father and mother.’ ” 


This week, we’ll meet two rich guys. The first of these two men asked Jesus an important question: “Good teacher, what must I do to get eternal (or forever) life?” Since the man called him a “good” teacher, Jesus used that word to teach him a lesson: “Only God is good.” That’s an interesting thing to hear Jesus say because you and I know something the rich man didn’t know: Jesus was God! If Jesus was God (and only God is good), that meant Jesus is good! Jesus listed five of the last six of the Ten Commandments, then told the man, “Obey these and you’ll receive eternal life.” 

+ According to Jesus, who is the only one who is “good?” (vs. 18)

+ Compare Exodus 20:12-17 to what Jesus said in Mark 10:19. Which of these 6 commands didn’t Jesus mention?


Mark 10:20-22, NIrV

20 “Teacher,” he said, “I have obeyed all those commandments since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “You are missing one thing,” he said. “Go and sell everything you have. Give the money to those who are poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”

22 The man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he was very rich.


When a rich man asked how he could receive forever life, Jesus listed off five of the last six of the Ten Commandments. The man happily said, “I’ve obeyed every single one!” But Jesus had left out the last commandment: “You shall not covet” (be jealous of the things that belong to others). To show this rich man he’d broken this command, Jesus said, “Sell all your stuff. Give it to the poor.” Jesus’ challenge made the rich man sad. Why? Because he loved his stuff! By asking the man to give away everything, Jesus proved something sad: the rich man loved his treasures more than he loved God!

+ How good did the rich man think he was at obeying God’s commands? (vs. 20)

+ Looking at the rich man’s actions, what did he love more: God or his stuff? (vs. 22)


Mark 10:23-27, NIrV

23 Jesus looked around. He said to his disciples, “How hard it is for rich people to enter God’s kingdom!”

24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter God’s kingdom! 25 Is it hard for a camel to go through the eye of a needle? It is even harder for someone who is rich to enter God’s kingdom!”

26 The disciples were even more amazed. They said to each other, “Then who can be saved?”

27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With people, this is impossible. But not with God. All things are possible with God.”


When Jesus asked the rich man to sell everything and give the money to the poor, it proved he loved his stuff more than God. To describe how hard it was for a money-loving rich person to enter God’s forever kingdom, Jesus told the people to imagine a big, fat camel trying to squeeze through the tiny hole of a needle! This idea made Jesus’ disciples wonder, “Well then, how can any of us be good enough to enter God’s kingdom? It’s impossible!” But Jesus had some good news for his disciples: things that are impossible for human beings to do are a piece of cake for our all-powerful God!

+ Is it possible for a big, fat camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle?

+ Why is God able to do the impossible?


Luke 19:1-6, NIRV

1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man named Zacchaeus lived there. He was a chief tax collector and was very rich. 3 Zacchaeus wanted to see who Jesus was. But he was a short man. He could not see Jesus because of the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree. He wanted to see Jesus, who was coming that way.

5 Jesus reached the spot where Zacchaeus was. He looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So Zacchaeus came down at once and welcomed him gladly.


Zacchaeus is the second rich man we’ll study this week. He was a tax collector. That tells us two things. One, he had huge piles of money. And two, people hated his guts! Tax collectors like Zacchaeus made their fortune by collecting way more money from their fellow country members than they needed to! Zacchaeus was super short, so he climbed a tree to see Jesus over the crowd. Though he was a hard-to-see guy, Jesus spotted the tiny tax man up in the tree. And of all the people Jesus could have chosen to eat lunch with, he shocked the spectators by picking that dirty, rotten tax collector!

+ Why did Zacchaeus have to climb a tree? (vs. 3-4)

+ When Jesus asked to come to Zacchaeus’ house, what was his response? (vs. 6)


Luke 19:7-10, NIRV

7 All the people saw this. They began to whisper among themselves. They said, “Jesus has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up. He said, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of what I own to those who are poor. And if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay it back. I will pay back four times the amount I took.”

9 Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “Today salvation has come to your house. You are a member of Abraham’s family line. 10 The Son of Man came to look for the lost and save them.”


“Why would Jesus go to the house of a scumbag like Zacchaeus?” That’s what most people thought. The Bible doesn’t tell us what Jesus and the tiny tax man talked about over lunch. But when Zacchaeus left that meal, God had changed him into a new man! Though he had become rich cheating others out of money, Zacchaeus loudly told everyone who’d listen, “I’m giving away half of everything I own!” He also promised to pay back anyone he cheated four times what he owed. Zacchaeus’ actions showed that he’d repented of his sins and trusted that God could forgive a sinful scumbag like him!

+ Why do you think the people were upset that Jesus went to Zacchaeus’ house?

+ “The Son of Man” is Jesus. What did Jesus, the Son of Man, come to do? (vs. 10)


Luke 12:16-21, NIRV

16 Then Jesus told them a story. He said, “A certain rich man’s land produced a very large crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What should I do? I don’t have any place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones. I will store my extra grain in them. 19 I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain stored away for many years. Take life easy. Eat, drink and have a good time.” ’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You foolish man! Tonight I will take your life away from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “That is how it will be for whoever stores things away for themselves but is not rich in the sight of God.”


In God’s Word this week, we met two rich men. The first, a young man, was sure he had earned eternal (forever) life with God. Why? “Because I’ve obeyed every one of God’s commands!”, he foolishly thought. But after Jesus asked him to sell his mountains of treasure, it made the hidden truth plan to see. In his heart, this rich young man valued his treasures more than he treasured God.

The second rich man we met was Zacchaeus, the itty-bitty tax collector. His story turned out much differently than the rich young man. After lunch with Jesus, it was obvious that God had transformed this tiny tax man’s heart. Instead of shuffling away sad like the rich young man, lil' Zach was excited to give away his riches to help the poor!

In these verses from Luke, Jesus told a parable, a story that teaches a lesson. The star of Jesus’ story was another rich man, a farmer. He had grown so much food in his fields that his barns were bursting. Instead of sharing his riches, he planned to build even bigger barns to store all his food. He proudly thought, “I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ve got enough food to feed me for years and years!”

But there was something he should have been worried about. In Jesus’ parable, God told the rich man that he was a fool. Why? Because that very night, the rich man was going to die. And when he did, all the food he had stored in his barns wasn’t going to help him get into God’s kingdom!

Money is an interesting thing. You can do a lot of fun things with it, liking buying the coolest toys and the latest electronic gadgets. You can do good things with it, like feeding hungry people or healing sick people. But money can also become an idol: a created thing that we treasure more than our actual Creator, God!

Eternal life in God’s kingdom isn’t like an amusement park. There are no tickets you can purchase to open up the gates of heaven. The richest person in the world cannot buy their way into God’s kingdom. Neither can the nicest person in the world earn their way into God’s kingdom by doing good things or selling all their riches.

Jesus told Zacchaeus that he came into the world to find and save lost sinners. He found them in all sorts of places (sometimes up in a tree!). He saved them dying on a cross to pay the price for their sins. All the money in the world can’t buy eternal life with God, but with his death, Jesus earned forever life for us! To anyone who believes the good news of Jesus, God offers us a free ticket to forever happiness with him!

+ In the parable, what did the rich man plan to do with all his extra food? (vs. 18)

+ How can a rich (or a poor) person receive eternal life from God?

© 2023 Andrew Doane. All rights reserved.