|Posted by kelvinbueckert on July 28, 2019 at 6:10 PM|
These are the words of Jesus – His response to an earnest seeker. The young man was eager to keep the law; he had religiously done so since his youth. He approached Jesus reverently, falling to his knees and calling Him “good teacher”. Mark records that Jesus looked at him and loved him. There was instant rapport!
Perhaps this is one of the saddest stories in scripture. The young man wanted to know what he could do to inherit eternal life (:17). Since his religion was so important to him, we might wonder why Jesus was so tough, so direct.
Often Jesus gave responses that are hard for us to understand. Note His query “Why do you call Me good?” In its absolute sense “good” was a word that referenced God’s character. Was Jesus reacting to this designation because He knew the young man really had no concept of His divine nature? “No one is good except God alone…”(:18)
This reminds me of Matthew’s record of the sheep and the goats on judgment day. Judging from external appearances a certain group of people had visited the sick, those in jail, fed the hungry etc. but Jesus responded to their claims of service very harshly. “Depart from me – you are cursed!”(Matthew 25:41).
Perhaps the answer lies in the simple truth that there is nothing anyone can do to inherit eternal life. The answer Jesus eventually gave was very revealing: “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor” (:21). What was the passion of this young man’s heart? It seems it was his wealth. Jesus, knowing his heart, asked him to give up the most important thing in his life, but he could not. His face fell as he left Jesus.
There is uncertainty in our world today about what it means to be a Christian. Do we follow the rules, as this young man had? Are we religious, devoted to doing things for God? What is it that Jesus was trying to teach this young man and His disciples, who witnessed this scenario?
The answer is given by Jesus Himself. Matthew records His message, often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth….but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Jesus was interested in the heart, not the treasure. If we are truly able to call Him LORD, (good) we need to have surrendered all that we are and have, to His control. This the young man could not do.
Applying this scripture to ourselves are we willing to pray “Search me O God and see if there is any wicked way”(Psalm 139:23), anything lacking in my heart and life, as was identified by Jesus in this man’s life? Is there anything you and I treasure more than God’s will? Are we willing to sell all for Jesus’ sake?