A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 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.’” “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 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.”
Need for a Savior
Often when you see a picture of the Ten Commandments, you see them split up on two different tablets. On the first tablet are the first three commandments, with the remaining commandments listed on the second.
The commandments Jesus quoted to the young man in our Bible reading today would fit on the second tablet. They focus on how we’re supposed to treat the people around us—forbidding adultery, murder, stealing, lying, and dishonoring our parents. And this man didn’t react all that differently than many people might today when they hear those things: “Well, I’ve done a pretty good job with those. I haven’t murdered anyone, haven’t had an affair, and yesterday I called my mom and told her I love her. And if I haven’t, I think that with a bit of effort, if I stepped up my game a bit, I could do those things pretty well.”
We can all be tempted to think we are good enough for God. It appears that the young man speaking with Jesus did. So, out of love, Jesus tried to show the man that he wasn’t good enough and needed someone to save him from his sins. He needed Jesus.
It doesn’t appear that the young man learned his lesson. When Jesus revealed that the young man loved his money more than he loved his God, instead of repenting and seeking forgiveness—the man went away sad.
Don’t let this happen to you. When God uses the words of the Bible to reveal your sin, don’t walk away sad. Instead, turn to your Savior. Jesus has already paid the price for your sin. He has lived the perfectly good life you could never live. He is the answer to the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Trust in the One who has earned eternal life for you.
Gracious Savior, keep my eyes always fixed on your work as my Savior and the everlasting value it gives to me. Amen.