To get a proper sense of what happened, let’s read Luke 18:18-23, “And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God. 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. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. 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. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich.”

We often refer to this man as a “rich young ruler” because this portion points out that he was a ruler and that he was rich.  Matthew 19:22 tells us he was a young man.  This man had a desire to have eternal life but thought it could be earned or inherited.  He called the Lord, “Good Master,” but it seems he did not know who the Lord Jesus really was, but simply assumed He was a great teacher.  Matthew 19:19 shows us that the Lord also said to this rich young ruler, “Honour thy father and thy mother: and, THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF.”

To answer this man’s question, the Lord mentioned five of the Ten Commandments.  He did not mention the first four commandments which speak of our relationship with the Lord.  Those are:

  • You shall have no other gods before Me.
  • You shall not make idols.
  • You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  • Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The Lord quoted the commandments which speak of how we are to treat our fellow man.  It’s not that the Lord was telling this man that if he obeyed the Law he would be saved, for we read in Galatians 2:16 that, “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ…”  Rather, the Lord was using the Law to bring this man to repentance by realizing he had broken God’s Law.  This self-righteous man declared that he had always kept the Law…which he had not!

Upon hearing this man’s words of righteousness, the Lord challenged him to prove his obedience to the Law.  If he truly kept all the law and truly loved his neighbor as himself, he would sell all that he had, and would give the money to the poor. It is so easy to claim to be obedient.  It is so easy to claim to love others, but when challenged to show that love to others, it becomes very difficult.  This young man realized he did not love his neighbors like he loved himself.  He was very rich and could not bear to part with his riches.  Matthew 18:24 shows us the Lord’s reaction.  That says, “And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!” 

That day, both the rich young ruler and the Lord Jesus were “very sorrowful.”  The ruler was sorrowful because, although he wanted eternal life, it came at a price higher than he was willing to pay.  The Lord Jesus was sorrowful because He loved this man.  Mark 10:21 tells us, “Then Jesus beholding him loved him…”  The Lord loved this man and wanted to give him eternal life, but the man walked away.  How tragic. 

Do you realize the Lord loves you and wants to save you?  The price?  PUT YOUR FAITH IN THE LORD JESUS FOR YOUR SALVATION.  Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  I implore you NOT to walk away from the Lord and His love for you.  Do you want to be saved and have eternal life?  Do not put the cares or wealth of this world between you and the Lord.  Put your faith in Him and you will live forever!  John 5:24 is a sure promise from God, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”  (CC)  (563.6)