16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18 He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19 Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20 The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21 Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
From a Latter Day Saint perspective it should be fairly transparent that Jesus is teaching this young man that in order to live the law of the celestial kingdom he had to be willing to live the law of consecration. In fact the episode reads almost like a proto temple recommend interview, or perhaps even a judgment day interview. Well the law of consecration proved too great of test for the young man and he went away from the celestial law and God sorrowing.
The Lord used this interview as a teaching moment for his disciples:
23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Now taken out of context it would be easy to see this as a condemnation of all people who make or inherit a lot of money (whatever “a lot of money” means…). But in context the issue is not with people who make a lot of money relative to peers, it is everyone who fails to live the celestial law and the law of consecration. I think the point being made is that it is impossible for a person who is not living to celestial law to inherit celestial glory. The celestial law includes the law of consecration. So therefore, not only is it impossible for rich people to become celestial people if they hold anything back from God (including their money), it is impossible for any person to be heirs of celestial glory if they hold anything back from God (including money). Rich, poor, in-between; the issue is that if we hold anything back from God we are not consecrating and we are not living the celestial law. That is why the disciples who as a group were surely not rich were so concerned about this pronouncement in verse 25. But in verse 26 Jesus assured them that they could indeed live the celestial law with the help of God.
Peter, realizing that he and others already were living the law of consecration then asked Jesus what it would mean for them:
27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Jesus comforts Peter and the other disciples by assuring them that they are indeed on the right track in verse 28. He also explains that because they are living the law of consecration they will sit with him in judgment of the rest of God’s covenant people. My take on this is that they will sit in judgment by virtue of living the celestial law and not by virtue of their church assignment. That is, I think that all who live the celestial law including the law of consecration here on earth will sit with Jesus in judgment of the rest of ancient and modern Israel who went away sorrowing when confronted with living the law of consecration. Then I believe verse 29 and 30 complete the transition in the narrative to begin foreshadowing the inclusion of the Johnny-come-lately gentiles into the covenant of Israel as explained in further detail in the parable of the laborers as I discussed earlier.
Now I’m not saying I can’t be wrong in my reading of this, but I do think this reading does work very well with modern revelations and it helps clear up a lot of misconceptions and wild ideas that come out of Matthew 19. What do you think?