A wealthy young man had heard about the Teacher. He had a question, he wanted to know if there was anything preventing him from being saved.
Jesus' response was that the young man should sell all that he had and follow him. Saddened, the young man walked away.
"It's difficult for a rich person to make it into heaven." Jesus remarked.
His disciples were startled, "If the rich man isn't going to make it, who could?"
The young ruler left Jesus disappointed. The question that he had asked in good faith had returned an answer that he couldn't understand ...
Maybe his opinion was that all was well. After all, he had been keeping the commandments since he was young. He was a leader in his community. He had great wealth.
All the evidence indicated that he was being blessed by the Almighty ... and only the "good" people get the blessings .... right?
I wonder why he asked Jesus which one commandments he should keep? That answer is not found within the pages of the Bible But what is interesting is the six that Jesus listed:
Did you notice that these are the ones that directly affect those around us?
Why didn't Jesus remind the young man to keep the Sabbath? Or to refrain from taking the Lord's name in vain? Or to not make or worship idols?
I believe Jesus looked into his heart and knew which areas he struggled with. But even though he struggled, the young man was able to confidently say, "I have kept the commandments"
"Very well," Jesus says, "Since you are perfect in your own eyes, let me show you the god you're serving. Put away the idol in your heart - your wealth. Put it away and follow Me."
The young ruler thought his actions could save him. The disciples thought his money made it easier for him to be saved. But God had to show them all that the righteousness of mankind is as filthy rags. We cannot be saved through our own efforts, no matter how "good" we are.
I love the way the New Living Translation renders this text:
Jesus looked at them intently and said, "Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible."
This is a powerful reminder that we are unable to save ourselves. The blood of lambs and goats and turtledoves cannot save us. it doesn't matter if they are without blemish. The truth of the matter is that mankind needed a Savior. If not for the redeemer all would have been lost.
Praise God. The Redeemer Lives!