17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him,“Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher,all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is[b] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 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.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him,[c]“Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.” 28 Peter began to say to him, “See,we have left everything and followed you.” 29 Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, 30 who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. 31 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
When Jesus questioned the young man’s use of the word “good,” it was not because He considered Himself unworthy, but because He was challenging the young man’s basis for recognizing what is good. The rich young ruler was quick to throw the word around. Jesus wanted him to put more thought and discernment into identifying what is truly good. Additionally, Jesus was testing to see if the man realized that Jesus was the Christ.
Jesus again reaffirmed the validity of the Old Testament. This popular notion that since we are saved by grace through faith, we no longer need to obey God’s stated commands, was shattered once again by the words of Jesus.
HUGE POINT: 21 “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing:” Jesus does not hate wealthy people. Again, current thinking is wrong in maintaining that, except for entertainers and athletes, anyone with wealth is evil. Jesus loved the young man, but Jesus’ love did not excuse him from the consequences of choosing material possessions over God.
The disciples were then perplexed. Yet, when they suggested the impossibility of being made right with God, Jesus did not downplay the difficulty, but painted a picture of the cost: everything. Jesus did not say that it was easy, but clarified the fact that you must be willing to give and do anything that God asks of you.