“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Then Peter said, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.” ~ Luke 18:18-30
The rich young ruler was one of a few men in the Gospels who came to the feet of Jesus and went away in worse condition than when they came. This happened because of bad choices and being a person that said one thing but did another. In a word, he was dishonest and he showed that in three ways.
His words – In Jesus day, rabbis were called “Master” or “Teacher” but it was unusual for a rabbi to be called “good.” The Jews used the word “good” only in reference to God. This explains why Jesus asked the young man what he meant. Had he really believed that Jesus was “good,” then he was confessing that Jesus was indeed God.
His behavior though proved that he did not believe Jesus Christ was God. If he thought he was in the presence of almighty God, would he argue the law, speak of his own character, but then refuse to obey the Word given? After all, he knew that God sees the heart and knows all things!
His sin – There is no doubt the young man tried to keep the law. This may have been what brought him to the feet of Jesus to start with. Jesus did not quote laws to him as a means of salvation, because obedience to the law does not save us. He held the law before the young man as a mirror to reveal his sins just as He does to each of us.
But the young man looked into the mirror and would not see his own sin. Jesus knew the young man’s heart, so instead of preaching to him about covetousness, He asked him to do something that a covetous person would not do. Nobody is saved by giving all his wealth to the poor, but nobody can be saved who will not repent of his sins and turn away from them. This young man was possessed by the love of money, and he would not let go.
His refusal – This young ruler thought that eternal life came to those who “did something” but when Jesus gave him something to do, he was sorrowful. In other words he refused! He wanted salvation on his terms, not God’s. It says in one gospel account that he then turned and walked away in great sorrow. (Truly, to me that is one of the saddest stories in the Bible).
The disciples were shocked when Jesus announced that it was so difficult for rich people to be saved. Why? They were Jews and the Jews believed that riches were a mark of God’s blessing as well as His favor and approval.. “If rich people can’t be saved,” they asked, “what hope is there for the rest of us?”
It is not possessing riches that keeps people out of heaven. Abraham, David, and Solomon and others were wealthy men. It is being possessed by money and things and trusting and idolizing them that makes salvation difficult for the wealthy. Wealth gives people a false sense of success, security and superiority. When people are satisfied with themselves and what they have, they very often feel no need for God.
The rich young ruler is a warning to people who want a faith that does not change their values or upset their lifestyle. Jesus does not command every follower to sell everything and give it all to the poor, but He does convict in any area in our lives that we don’t put Him first.
Heavenly Father, today I come before You to tell You I love You! Thank You so much for sending Your most precious Son to die for my sin. Thank You Jesus for dying for me. Let me never forget the cost that I might have a life eternal. Lord You are good and great and greatly to be praised. Help me today to keep my eyes on you and not on things or money or pursuit of money. Help me to trust You for provision. Thank You Lord that my steps are ordered today. Help me to take every opportunity to give as You command and help me to obey and follow every step of the way that I may get in and stay in Your perfect will. Help me to be content with what I have. In Jesus Name I Pray! Amen!
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. ~ 1 Timothy 6:9
And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. ~ Luke 12:15
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Matthew 6:21
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. ~ 1 Timothy 6:10
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. ~ Matthew 6:24