Free Bible Commentary
“Mark 10:17-31”Categories: 50 Days with Jesus
“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, “Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”’ And he said to Him, ‘Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.’ Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, ‘Children, how hard it is to enter 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 the kingdom of God.’ They were even more astonished and said to Him, ‘Then who can be saved?’ Looking at them, Jesus said, ‘With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.’ Peter began to say to Him, ‘Behold, we have left everything and followed You.’ Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.’”
---End of Scripture verses---
This “young man” (Matthew 19:20), who was also a “ruler” (Luke 18:18), ran up to Jesus with a sense of urgency and bowed his knee before Him. He displayed great wisdom and humility in these gestures because he recognized Jesus as far superior to himself and that the Master alone could supply the answer to life’s most important and pressing question: “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” The young ruler, whether intentionally or inadvertently, acknowledged that Jesus possessed the attributes and powers of deity by calling Him “Good Teacher,” because “no one is good except God alone.”
The young man had endeavored to meticulously keep God’s commandments as revealed in the Law of Moses from the time that he was a child and had the ability to understand them. He was likely raised in a household by parents who taught him to fear the Lord and keep His commandments as Timothy had been so instructed by his mother and grandmother, and that training had equipped him for this fateful encounter with the Master. “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
Jesus looked at this excellent young man with the love that He maintains for all the people He created in His own image, but true love demands that the sometimes painful truth be spoken. The one single thing that stood between the ruler and eternal salvation was his wealth. The simple truth was that he loved his “much property” more than he loved his Good Master, so when he departed from his encounter with Jesus he did so with a heart full of grief instead of joy. He had a great desire to please the Lord, but his heart was divided, and the treasures he had invested the most value in were of the earthly variety and not the eternal riches of heaven. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24)
It is very difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, and the Bible is chock full of warnings about the dangers of material wealth. “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10) But, having acknowledged the extreme difficulties associated with wealthy people acquiring and maintaining eternal salvation, it is not impossible to do because “all things are possible with God.” “Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy. Instruct them to do good, to be rich in goodworks, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
If we position our money and possessions in first place in our hearts, we will most assuredly be last in the eyes of the Lord, even though He look upon us with love like He did this rich young ruler. But, if we love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves, and we express that love with the way we use our material wealth, we will be among the sheep who are mentioned first, separated to the Lord’s right hand of salvation come Judgment Day (Matthew 25:31-46).
Please read Luke 10:1-24 for tomorrow – Jesus sends out His apostles.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day!