Good teacher, riches, eternal life

Mark 10: 17 Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

A rich man wanted to know how to inherit eternal life saying, “Good teacher, what shall I do?” Before Jesus gets to the what He asks why saying, “why do you call me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” It is interesting that Jesus answers this question with a question. No one would have called a rabbi, ‘good teacher’ because Jews knew that no one was good enough to be called good. Jesus tests the man’s use of the word. Jesus wanted him to find out for himself if he did really know that Jesus was God? Because the second part of this mans question is, “what shall I do?”

Eternal life is not a matter of earning and deserving. It is a matter of relationship.

Isn’t it interesting that Jesus uses the commandments of how we treat each other to express how relationship matters. This man says, “I have kept all these from my youth.” He seems to skip Jesus’s intention and attention to relationship and focuses on his own ability. And instead of correcting him by pointing out he may have kept them in deed but his un-redeemed heart could not have kept them in the spirit that they were written. (see the sermon on the mount) Jesus loving says, “one thing you lack: go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”

This man went away sorrowful because he had great possessions.

Jesus touched the one thing this man loved more than anything – his possessions.

In the following verses of chapter 10 Jesus says, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!”  Jesus looked at his disciples and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”

Salvation will not come through riches, and riches can keep us from salvation, but with God all things are possible. With God redemption is possible through Jesus Christ. It is by the grace of God that we are able to overcome what hinders us from the way of salvation.


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