The Young Rich Ruler!!!
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said,“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven .” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” So He said to Him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to Him, “Which ones?”Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother ,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions…… Matthew 19:13-23
In our previous Study, we see Jesus giving an answer to the question the Pharisees asked Him concerning Marriage. We also saw Jesus view on divorce, remarriage and celibacy(Act of remaining Single). Here, we read of Jesus Blessing the Little Children and the story of the young, rich ruler who came to Jesus.
Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said,“Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of Heaven .” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.: it is interesting to see that the Holy Spirit recorded this incident immediately after we saw the Glory of remaining single for the sake of the Kingdom of God, He spoke about the Blessing of Marriage. Children are the gifts of married people. Little Children were brought to Jesus. It is a good thing when we bring our Children to the Lord to be touched by Him. We have read of many who came to the Lord because their Children was sick but these ones came not for healing. They wanted their Children to be touched by the Lord. It is the Duty of the Parent to make sure that they lead their Children to the Lord. It is not the duty of the Church nor the Sunday School teachers. In fact it is the duty of the Father!!! Ephesians 6:4 says, ” And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Shame on Fathers who think that the only thing they are responsible for is the Education and feeding of their Children. Shame on Parent who instead of bringing their Children to the Lord, all they do is do and say things that drives their Children away from the Lord. The best thing we can do for our children is to ensure we lead them to the Lord so that He could lay Hands on them. The Disciples thought that Jesus would have no time for Children. The Disciples must have seen the Pharisees always driving little Children away saying, We don’t have time for them”. The great teachers of those days don’t talk to children. They only talk with Mature men. But here we see the attitude of Jesus to Little Children. He said, “Let the Little children come to Me and do not forbid them”. Our attitude to Little children is an indication of how truly Godly we are. If Children are not drawn to you, if You don’t treat Children nicely and kindly, if you don’t welcome them, I will say, “You don’t know Christ at all”. Children must not be afraid of Us, they must be full of Joy when they see You. This is one mark of being Christ-like. A Christ-like person is always happy to be with Children and not Just with older people. Children are the closest to the Kingdom of Heaven and those who are willing to inherit that Kingdom must welcome Little Children(Matt 18:3-4).
It is also significant to notice what Jesus did to Little Children brought to Him, ” He laid His hands on them”. Jesus did not baptize Little Children. Jesus did not make a Mistake here on what to do to Children that were brought to Him. There is nothing like “Child Baptism” which our brethren in the Roman Catholic followed. When adults came to Jesus, He baptized them(John 3:22).But when Children were brought to Him, He laid His hands on them and departed.
Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?: This is a Very interesting Story of an unusual person coming to the Lord. He was a Rich, He was Young and He was a Ruler(Luke 18:18). He is a kind of Person every Pastor would Love to have as His Church Member. Rich, Young and with an eminent position in the Society. This man came running and kneeling before Jesus(Mark 10:17). Although He was Rich and a Ruler, he knew there was something missing in His Life. He knew in His conscience that something was lacking. It is good for those who are rich and ruler in the society to recognize that wealth and position does not bring peace of Mind. This Man was rich Yet had no Peace in His Heart. So He came running to Jesus with a very important question, “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” A very important question every One of us should ask ourselves? We must be eager to know what to You to secure our lives eternally after this short time on Earth. We must always inquire the Good works of faith we must do to be sure that our faith is a Living Faith(James 2:26).
So He said to Him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments”: Jesus was not saying He was not God as some has interpreted here. He was saying, “Why do you call Me Good? Do You believe that I am God? For only God is good!!” Then He told Him to keep the Commandments if He wants have eternal life. Notice, they were under the Law, there was no other message He could Preach in those days. This is the old testament Standard. The new Covenant had not yet been established. This is not the message we preach today. There are some things Jesus said in the gospels that were said and did because the new Covenant had not yet been established. For example, He kept the Sabbath and Passover festival. He told the Pharisees to pay their tithes(Matt 23:23), He told people to offer the necessary sacrifice that Moses commanded(Matt 8:4). The same way He told this Young, rich ruler to go and keep the commandments to have eternal Life. If someone were to come to You today and ask, ” What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” would You tell the person to go and keep the Ten Commandments? Definitely not!!! I am sure you will immediately quote, John 3:16 which says, ” For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Eternal life comes by simple Faith and dependence in the Lord Jesus Christ and not based on our Keeping the Laws. I say this because of people who say Jesus commanded Payment of Tithes in Matt 23:23. It is because the New Covenant had not been established. The Law was still in operation. It is good to recognize that. Lest we begin put people under the Laws of the Old Covenant now that the New Covenant has been established.
He said to Him, “Which ones?”Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother ,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’: Those who will keep the Commandments of God must seek after it diligently. Those who will inherit eternal life must seek to Walk by the Laws of the Holy Spirit as seen in the New testament. The Young Man asked, “Which ones?” A good question for us to ask also in Today’s Christianity. There are many things being taught today in Christian Television and Church Pulpit that has nothing to do with Eternal Life which is the Life of God Himself. Just because a Preacher pick references from the Bible those not mean that it would lead You to eternal Life. Remember the Devil also picked reference from the Bible to tempt and Destroy Jesus(Matt 4:5-6). Out of the many sermons we hear, we must be able to separate those that would Lead us to become partakers of the Life of God and the ones that will not.
So Jesus mentioned Five Commandments out of the Ten Commandments given to Moses. Remember that the Ten Commandments were written on two tablets of Stone. On the First tablet, there are the First Four Commandments which relates to Man’s relationship with God. And the Second tablet of Stone contains the remaining Six Commandments which describes Man’s relationship with other Man. You know the Two greatest Commandments are: Love God with all your heart and Love Your Neighbour as Yourself(Matt 22:34-40). The first Four Commandments relates to Loving God with All Your Heart and the Last Six relates to Loving Your neighborhood as Yourself(Exodus 20:1-17). The first Four Commandments, hardly anyone in Israel was guilty of disobeying them. They did not have other God, they did not make carved image for themselves, they did not take the Lord’s name in vain, they did, they kept the Sabbath. So Jesus did not bother asking Him about these Commandments because everyone in Israel kept these four. But out of the Six Commandments written on the Second Tablet of Stone, He mentioned only Five and Leaves out One which is the Tenth Commandment, ” You shall not covet(desire)”. Jesus knew that there was not a Single Human being who could keep that Commandments in the Old Covenant. The First Nine Commandments was all external but the Tenth Commandments was dealing with an Inner Life. The Law was meant to deal with the external actions of People in the old Testament, the Law could only make a Man Pure externally but not internally. And God intentionally gave the Tenth Commandments because He wanted to see those who will be Honest that they could not keep the Ten Commandments. Even Paul recognized that this Law was the one that He could not keep(Romans 7:7-11).But Paul was Honest about it. He cried out, “O wretched Man that I am!!!” Who will set me free?” Until the Law of the Spirit of Life in the New Covenant set Him free(Romans 8:2). So Jesus left out the Tenth Commandments because He knew no one could keep them in the old Covenant.
The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”: This is an amazing Young Man who have kept all the the Nine Commandments Faithfully since the days of His Youth. What a challenging young Man!!! And He was not Lying. If He was, Jesus would have exposed it like He exposed the Samaritan Woman who lied that She has no Husband. Instead Jesus Looked at Him and Loved Him(Mark 10:21). If a Young Man in the Old Covenant can attain to such a Level of Righteousness, how much us who have received the gifts of the Holy Spirit? But even at this, this Young man desire to know what was still lacking? He was convinced that there is more to do to get eternal Life. It is a good habit to always ask the Lord, “What do I still lack?” we have been called to press on towards perfection. And since None of us has become perfect Like Jesus, There are still something we are still lacking. What do you still Lack?, Maybe Love, Goodness, Patience, Gentleness, Long-suffering,… Etc.
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”: Jesus did not tell Mary and Martha to sell what they had and even Zacchaeus decided to give” half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.(Luke 19:8)”,and Jesus did not tell Him to sell all. But in this Young, Rich Ruler case, it was clear to Jesus that he was enslave to Money. His Cancerous Love for Money has spread so much that the only way to save Him is to cut Him off Completely from Money. We all have the Love of Money deeply rooted in us and as the Lord shows it to us in each case,we must be quick to pull it off lest it spread and destroys us completely. “Give it to the poor not Me”. The Lord says!!! Detach Yourself from the covetous attitude you have for the things of this world!!! Give it up!!! Today, there is no command in the New testament to sell all we have before we can follow the Lord. But whatever We have, we must not posses it as if it is ours. We must keep it with our palm open saying, “Lord, I have it but I will not posses it as mine. It is Yours Lord, am Just a steward holding it. We must Forsake ALL that we posses before we can become Disciples of the Lord. Giving all we have to the poor without Taking our cross to follow in Jesus Footsteps will do us no good(Mark 10:21).
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions: What a Sad ending!!! He came running to Jesus with a Wonderful question, but He went away sorrowful. I use to think all those who come to the Lord always return with Joy but Here is a Man who was an Exception!!! Why?, He was like, “If this is the Price I have to pay for eternal Life, then forget it, I am not interested anymore!!! I am interested in this Life. I want to have a good time here on Earth” This is the test, “Do you want a good Life on this Earth or Eternal Life which is the Life of God?” If You don’t want to give up all that You Posses to Follow Jesus, You will always go away from the Lord sorrowfully. Those who find their Christian race exciting are those who have given up everything in other to follow Jesus.
Notice, Jesus did not go running after this Man. Jesus did not say, “Come back let’s talk about it. Maybe You should give up 10% now and 10% later till you can give up everything”. Not at all. It was radical Discipleship!!! We don’t go after people who are not willing to pay the price of Discipleship. We don’t go about begging people that we will lower the standard for their sakes. If you don’t want to be a Disciple, forget it!!! And Jesus made the conditions of Discipleship plain at the beginning. And it is good if we also make it plain to those who come to us.
Dear Friend, What are you still lacking? What is the one thing You Lack? Is it the Cross? Is it Contentment? Is it a forgiving Spirit? check Your Heart. You cannot Serve God and Mammon. You have to choose one. You have to stop listening to messages that stirs up the Love of Money deeply rooted in our flesh. And choose the ones that challenges You to follow the Lord daily in Your Life. If Jesus did not run after this Young Rich Ruler who have kept nine out of the Ten Commandments perfectly, He will not Run after You even today. May the Lord gives us Grace to give up all our attachments to Earth(Amen). God bless you. Have a blessed day.
#Everyday with Jesus