King James Version (KJV)
18 And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
20 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother.
21 And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up.
22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
23 And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!
25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
26 And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved?
27 And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.
Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “Yet, thou lackest one thing . . .” and He told the man to go sell all his belongings and give to the poor, and then come and follow Him.
This revealed the man’s selfishness. It was his own selfishness that kept him from following Christ. In fact, this man’s selfishness led him to completely walk away from Christ altogether.
He was given an invitation by God to come and follow Him. To live in intimacy with Him. To depend on Jesus to meet his needs, and to fearlessly by used by Jesus to give to others.
Jesus wasn’t saying that we can earn our salvation by good works. I mean Angelina Jolie, and Bill Gates are charitable people. Godless people, but charitable. They are not in Christ, and are not going to heaven until they are IN CHRIST.
We can’t earn our salvation by doing good, or by living simply and giving to others. We receive salvation through God’s mercy, be recognizing our own sinfulness and need for mercy and crying out to Him, asking for it, and following Him.
But Jesus is pointing out to this man, that no matter how much we think we have obeyed His commands and led a godly life, we still miss the mark. This man made the mistake of thinking he was right with God, when he wasn’t. How many people sit in churches every week thinking they have followed God’s commands from youth–thinking that they are good people. Yet they are still missing the mark. Something is coming in between them and God, and they refuse to change that. They do not really want to wholeheartedly follow Christ.
Missing the mark.
And if we still miss the mark,
and if our sin is pointed out by God,
will we forsake it and follow Him?
Will we cry out like the blind man on the side of the road, a few verses later . . .
35 And it came to pass, that as he was come nigh unto Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the way side begging:
36 And hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.
37 And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passeth by.
38 And he cried, saying, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.
39 And they which went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace: but he cried so much the more, Thou son of David, have mercy on me.
40 And Jesus stood, and commanded him to be brought unto him: and when he was come near, he asked him,
41 Saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight.
42 And Jesus said unto him, Receive thy sight: thy faith hath saved thee.
43 And immediately he received his sight, and followed him, glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise unto God.
Now the rich young ruler was really the blind one. He stood face to face with the One who could have mercy on him and asked what HE COULD DO to go to heaven. He was blind to his own need for MERCY.
And this man whose eyes do not work, who cannot stand face to face with Jesus and see Him. Cries out, as LOUD as he can, with people hushing him–HAVE MERCY UPON ME!
And when Jesus does, He follows Him.
I want to cry out, with all my heart for MERCY.
I want to follow Jesus.
JESUS HAVE MERCY ON ME.
I AM A SINNER.
I see the areas of my life I need to surrender.
I see my selfishness.
Help me prize you above all else.
Help me follow you and shout my testimony.
I cannot earn my way into heaven,
but I can allow my own sin to keep me from following you wholeheartedly.
Forgive me Lord.
Open my eyes.
I don’t want anything to come in between me and YOU.