18 A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 19 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 20 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’” 21 “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 22 When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 23 When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was very wealthy. 24 Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! 25 Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with human beings is possible with God.” 28 Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!” 29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The religious leader asks the ultimate question ie. “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus refers the man back to the commandments which he already knows and has adhered to since he was young. So the religious leader is a decent human being.
Jesus identifies his weak spot – his wealth and possessions. These things are preventing him from following Jesus and it saddens the religious leader as he wasn't prepared to give them up. This man's security seems to lie in his wealth and possessions.
Those that overheard this conversation were disheartened as this was a “good” man. ie. who can be saved? Jesus went on to reassure the people that all things are possible with God. In Jesus conversation with Peter he states that those that give up their homes, families etc. to follow Jesus w
ill not only be repaid in this life but also in the life to come.
The religious leader knew he had to do something more than he was currently doing. His walk with God wasn't quite right. This is a challenging piece of Scripture. Can we be brave and ask the same question about our lives, knowing the Lord will be able to pin point an answer pertinent to us. ie. Lord what do I need to do to inherit eternal life or what do I need to do to follow you more fully? Seems to open up a series of questions really, such as:
- Where is my security ?
- What's in the way of me following Jesus?
Lord, please highlight those things in my life that prevent me from following you and give me the wisdom and strength to obey. Amen
Written by Ainslie Woods