Insights Into The Rich Young Ruler, High and Mighty

Posted: 30 April, 2008 in Ponderings
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Rich Young Ruler is recorded in the first 3 gospels, namely Matthew, Mark and Luke. In all the accounts, they recorded about a rich young man or ruler who came up to Jesus to enquire about attaining eternal life. As usual, Jesus’ response is not only insightful but as always has great teaching and relevance.

Insights Into The Rich Young Ruler, Left to my own devices

Notice the question, “What good thing must I do…”. The man obviously thought that he can do the “good thing” on his own to get eternal life. He comes to Jesus sincerely believing that he can work good his way into eternal life. Jesus’ reply was short and sharp, although I wonder if the man can understand fully then. There is only One good, no one else, if anyone thinks he can earn his way into eternal life, let him try: try keeping the commandments.

The rich young man still confident of himself said he has kept all the commandments. “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”  Thinking he has made the mark laid done by the law, the rich young man must have thought he has almost reached the goal for eternal life. He wants a confirmation and assurance from Jesus of his place in heaven by what he has done or kept.

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  Jesus’ answer here is the key towards the entire account. The perfect keeping of the law or commandments is required, for if you failed even one law, you failed the entire test and the right to gain eternal life based on the law. Knowing the man’s weakness and thus incapable to perfectly keep the law and commandments, in this case his love of money, Jesus offered him another alternative: to follow Him, the only Perfect One who can fulfill the entire requirement of the law.

Insights Into The Rich Young Ruler, Hanging on

The only good thing he can ever do to get eternal life is not based on his own effort to maintain the law but to follow the One who has perfectly fitted the requirement. The man went away sad because he has great wealth. We do not know if it was the love of his money such that he didn’t want to give to the poor or it was because to follow Jesus meant that he will no longer get to enjoy his great wealth, but either way, he went away missing the chance.

It is hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven because the rich trusted in their wealth and power instead of God. And if the rich and powerful cannot gain entry into heaven then what about mere mortals like us, everyday folks? Jesus looked at them and said, “With human beings this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  So whether we are rich or poor, it is impossible for any human being to gain access into heaven by their own efforts.

But with God, then all things are possible. Just Follow Me.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.   Matthew 16:24-25

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Comments
  1. Karen Tabler says:

    (Continuing Isaiah 53:7-12) Verse 8 “For he was cut off from the land of the living; from the trespass [the murderous conspiracy] of my people the stroke (was) to him. And he [by way of crucifixion] put his grave with the wicked [for according to the Jewish law anyone crucified was accounted as accursed by God]…”

    NOTE: PROVERBS 21:18 “The [demand for righteous legal action against the] wicked [shall be] a ransom [a means of release for] the righteous; and in the place of the upright (shall be) the treacherous.”

    (Continuing Isaiah 53:7-12) Verse 9 “And he [by way of crucifixion] put his grave with the wicked [as though one having met the legal demands of the law], and with a rich (man)in his death though he [Jesus] had not done violence, and deceit (was) not in his mouth.”

    “There is more than one Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament that predicted that the line of kings that began with King David (a rich man), about 3000 years ago, would be everlasting or eternal. History shows that most dynasties throughout history, throughout the world, were lucky if they lasted more than a few generations. Jesus is unique in his ability to fulfill this promise that God had made to David that his throne would endure forever.”

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