One Thing You Lack: The Radical Demand to Sell All to Enter the Kingdom in Luke 18:18-30

(This paper is published here as a theological reference for the pastor, teacher, seminary student, scholar, and every thoughtful believer.)

In Luke’s story of the rich ruler is found a more intriguing, perplexing, and difficult requirement of Jesus to enter the kingdom of God, especially for the rich. A certain rich ruler draws near to Jesus and begins the conversation with the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life” (Lk. 18:18).1 Jesus answers by telling the ruler to obey the second part of the Law, which speaks of concern towards other people (Lk. 18:20). The rich ruler replies that he has kept the commandments from his youth. Jesus responds, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Lk. 18:22). Why does Jesus require the rich ruler to sell all his possessions and give it to the poor? Is it a universal requirement for entering the kingdom or for committed discipleship? How does Luke interpret this detail? What is the Lukan emphasis concerning wealth in relation to the kingdom in this pericope (Lk. 18:18-30)? . . . . more

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Disclaimer:  I’ve tried to give credit to whom credit is due.  If there is any original thought or reference which I failed to footnote, please call my attention.  Once validated, it will be corrected immediately.
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