The Rich Ruler
Mark 10:17 “And when He(Jesus) was gone forth into the way, there came one running and kneeled to Him, and asked Him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
Here is a man seeking eternal life (In Luke 18:18 he is called a ruler). And he comes to the right place: to Jesus….and he calls Him a name of respect for His work…..”Good Master”.
But…..respect for Him is not enough if this man really wants eternal life…….so Jesus first points this young man to God.
Mark 10:18 “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.”
He was showing this seeker that eternal life, does not come through following a certain set of rules.
But eternal life comes by receiving, and following Him. Through the Son of God, Who was right before him.
If He was good, and none was good but God: then He was God (which He was).
But since this rich ruler was asking what he should do, Jesus also stresses…..what He always points to…….honoring God’s Word.
God’s Word has been given to guide men to God and His life.
Jesus was drawing out of this man what his heart was really like, for it is only as we see our real need, that it can be met.
Mark 10:19 “Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and thy mother.”
Jesus quotes the second half of the Ten Commandments. The part that deals with our relations with people.
(The first half deals with honoring God, and not worshipping idols, not taking the Lord’s name in vain, and the Sabbath rest, to honor God’s works)
Mark 10:20 “And he answered and said unto Him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.”
This young man falls short of getting what Jesus is really telling him. Standing right before him was God’s Way of Salvation, in His Son; yet this ruler is intent on finding something to do.
“I have kept them all. Yet, I know I do not have eternal life by doing what I am doing. So, what more can I do. What don’t I have?”
Instead of asking, “what more can I do?”…….he should have been asking, “Can I come after You? For only You can lead me into eternal life.”
Mark 10:21 “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus loved him. Jesus could look into every heart and He knew that this man really wanted Eternal life.
But Jesus also saw the problem. He had given this man the part of the law which dealt with people, for a reason.
The problem was: his riches and possessions.
They had his heart all tied up. Nothing could get in, he was so full of them.
So the answer was: give away to other people your possessions. Free up your heart from the grip of them, and come and follow Me.
This man had followed the Law: he had not taken from any one, whether by false accusation, or theft. He had not committed adultery. He had honored his father and mother.
But he was very rich—he had “great possessions”.
Let me make this point very plain……..Jesus was not bargaining with this man.
He was telling him what hindered his heart from finding eternal life.
Mark 10:22 “And he (the ruler) was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.”
Whether this man ever did what Jesus said,……or whether he let eternal life go, to hang onto his riches;…….he went away.
He turned from the Person Who was the answer; and went away; for his possessions actually possessed him.
Mark 10:23-25 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto His disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
And the disciples were astonished at His words, but Jesus answereth them again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is saying,……that it is very hard for people who have “trusted” in other things,……to let go of them,……and “Come and take up the cross, and follow Me”.
It is Jesus that saves,……not Jesus and…
But you have to let go of what you are hanging on to,….to take hold on Christ.
“Who then can be saved?” His disciples asked.
Mark 10:27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With man it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.”
Again Jesus points to God,…..and God’s only Way of Salvation in His Son, Jesus Christ.
God knows every heart…..and how to free every heart from all that would keep it from eternal life….but we must come to Christ.
I hope this rich ruler came back and received eternal life by Jesus Christ; but the answer is the same today for everyone who seeks true life:
“Come unto the Lord Jesus for eternal life…….and take up your cross, and follow Him.”
For only in Him is eternal life.
John 17:3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.”