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Did Jesus die on the cross for those who love money? Well, remember the words St. Paul wrote to Timothy saying, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs." (1st Timothy 6:10). In addition to this, wise King Solomon, inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote, "He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity. 11 When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes? 12 Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep." (Ecclesiastes 5:10-12). And our Lord Jesus Himself preached saying, "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.” (Mark 10:25). As we read through the Scriptures it is clear that one cannot love God and desire the riches of this world at the same time. He will either hate the one and love the other, or despise the one and hold fast to the other. As our Lord Jesus says, You cannot serve both God and Mammon. The desire for the riches of this world blind us to the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. When one pursues the riches of the world, the things of Mammon, he never desires the things of God.
Luther speaks of the love of money and Mammon in the Large Catechism saying, "It is the most common idol on earth. He who has money and property feels secure, happy, fearless, as if he were sitting in the midst of paradise. On the other hand, he who has nothing doubts and despairs as if he never heard of God. Very few there are who are cheerful, who do not fret and complain, if they do not have mammon. This desire for wealth clings to our nature all the way to the grave," (Large Catechism I.7-9). All of us love money. Yes, the desire for wealth clings to us all the way to the grave. When we have money, we are comforted by it and fear losing it, and when we do not have money we believe that all our problems in life will go away as we gain worldly riches. Yes, we all love money, both the haves and the have nots. May the Holy Spirit create in us clean hearts that seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and stop worrying about gaining the favor of Mammon. May we desire the things that are above, where moth and rust cannot destroy, rather than the treasures that thieves can break in and steal.
Remember, the disciples reacted to Jesus asking who can be saved, if it is so difficult for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus responded saying, "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." (Mark 10:27). Yes, even though the desire for wealth clings to our flesh to the grave, it condemns us no more because Jesus assumed our love of Mammon on the cross. Yes, on the cross, Jesus took our eyes that love glistening things and our hearts that adore silver and gold, and He put them to death. Yes, Jesus claimed our hearts that rely on money and made satisfaction for them before His Father. Yes, on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our love of money. Yes, Jesus there on the cross purchased us, not with silver and gold, but with His holy and precious blood, and with His innocent suffering and death. That we may be His own. Yes, we are not saved because we value Jesus over gold, but rather we are saved because we are Jesus' treasure. Yes, Jesus values you more than anything that this world has to offer. Yes, there is nothing more precious and more valuable to Jesus than you. Yes, though the desire for wealth clings to us to the grave, this cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus knew of our weak hearts and claimed them as His own. Yes, Jesus paid the price for we rich men who for some reason think money will make everything alright.
May the Holy Spirit grant us grace to see how Jesus has purchase and won us. May we see that our riches now are not meant to satisfy our sinful desires, but rather are to be used for the well-being of our neighbor. Just as Jesus paid for us, may we now be rich in generosity with all those God places in our life to love and serve. May we rest assured that we are forgiven our desire for money and may Jesus continue to rescue us from Mammon's empty promises.
Peace be with you. May the devil be silenced, the world be hushed, and the Old Adam be drowned anew so that you may hear the peaceful voice of your Savior Jesus who says, "I love you. I forgive you. I claim you as My own forever," Amen.