Walking in Truth Devotional Update
Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler
(Mat 19:16-22; Mk 10:17-22; Lk 18:18-24)
This story is about a young man who was an important and powerful person because he was referred to as a certain ruler (Lk. 18:18 NKJV) which was a considerable accomplishment. Furthermore, he was one who owned much property (very rich, Lk. 18:23). Therefore, we could describe him as a young, powerful, and wealthy man. There is also another thing that stands out about this man: He was able to say that, from his youth, he kept the commandments of the law of God. This reminds us of the statement by Paul: “concerning the righteousness which is in the law”, he was “blameless” (Phil. 3:6).
However, even though he was young, rich and powerful as far as this world was concerned, he was troubled and went to Jesus for help. He recognized that he did not have eternal life because he asked: “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” This question ought to be on the heart and mind of every person in the world in every generation. There is absolutely nothing more important than being saved and having the promise of eternal life. This important young man believed that Jesus could answer his question, or he would not have gone to Him. So, he is to be commended for recognizing that Jesus could answer his question. Even though he went to Jesus and referred to Him as “Good Teacher”; it seems that he only recognized Jesus as a man and not God. Jesus then forced him to come to terms about who Jesus really is by asking him “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” The word “good” in both verses 18 and 19 is Greek agathos, “pertaining to meeting a high standard of worth and merit, ‘good.’ Do you remember the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well? Jesus said to the woman Sychar, “If you knew … who it is that asks you for a drink….” (John 4:10). Jesus was trying to get her to recognize Him and I believe that is what Jesus was doing for this young man.
Jesus proceeded to tell the young man to keep the commandments and he replied that “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” With the ability to see into his heart Jesus could see that the man had made his riches his god and served them. “Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” Jesus was putting his finger on that which the man loved more than God. He loved his success and wealth so much that he was breaking the first commandment in which God says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3).
This was not something new. Jesus had said, “No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money” (Matt. 6:24). God had said, “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me” (Exod. 20:3-5). What Jesus told this rich young ruler was because he loved his wealth more than God. The answer Jesus would give to anyone would be the same regarding whatever the god may be, not necessarily wealth. Wealth is not wrong within itself. What is wrong is any thing we worship more than God.
May I ask each one of us the following: If Jesus spoke to us as He did to this young man could He put His finger on something in our heart and life that is keeping us from serving God wholeheartedly? If so, may the Lord help us to get rid of it and put Him first every day we live in this world so we may go to heaven and enjoy eternal life.
By Guy Roberson
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