Reflections: Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler

Today, you get to do most of the work.  I’ve written about this before, but not on this blog, apparently.

 18And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Notice the question.  The HCSB says the rich young ruler asked, “What must I do…?”  Some people say you can do nothing to inherit eternal life, but what did Jesus say?

 19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

Just a side note, but notice how Jesus always pointed to the Father.

 20Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.

Q: Did Jesus say, “You don’t have to do anything at all”?

No, He quoted the commandments.  Many note that these are the Ten Commandments.  Some make a big deal out of the fact that the first four are not mentioned.  However, that is an argument from silence.

Q: However you differentiate them, though, there is one missing.  Can you spot which?

 21And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.

The young Jewish man was well-versed in the keeping of the commandments.  He felt he made the grade, just as the Pharisees who constantly attacked Jesus did.  However, Mt 19:20 adds the question, “What do I still lack?”  The young man was still humble enough to ask what he lacked.  As a result of his humility, Mk 10:21 adds, “Jesus loved him”.

However, as we will soon see, he did lack something.  He lacked keeping the same commandment that Jesus left out.

 22Now 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.

Q: Can you be complete (not lack anything) if you do not keep all the commandments?

 23And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.

 24And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!

 25For 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. (Luke 18:18-25, King James Version)

Q: What commandment do many rich break?  Is the breaking of that commandment why some get rich rather than sharing it with others?

Q: Why didn’t Jesus just tell the rich young ruler to accept Him into his heart?  Many teach that the commandments were done away, so why didn’t Jesus just tell this young man to say the “sinner’s prayer” and be done with it rather than put him through a lot of anguish?

Q: Why didn’t Jesus tell him that He kept the commandments already so we don’t have to?

Q: If the commandments were truly done away, why is this exchange even significant?  After all, it appears that Jesus is upholding at least the last portion of the Ten Commandments rather than revoking them.

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