Matthew 19:16 “ Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life ?”
All throughout Jesus ministry, people would continually come to listen and hear what Jesus had to say concerning the kingdom of heaven and what was required to be saved. So many people back in that time were taught that they could earn their way to heaven by simply following the commandments given to them by God back in the days of Moses found in both (Deuteronomy 5:7-21, Exodus 20:3-17) Just like us today people are still asking that very question and still believing they can earn their way into heaven by doing good deeds.
Getting back to the question the rich young ruler asked, Jesus replied “ Why do you ask Me what is good ? There is Only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments. “ Jesus’ first response to the man’s question was to point out that Only God is infinitely good and as He would later show how woefully short the man is in meeting the first commandment. Do you know what the first commandment is ?
The man then asked “Which one’s” and Jesus replied “ You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus listed five of the original commandments and included the second of the greatest commandment found in Matthew 22:37-39.
The first of the greatest commandment was found 1400 years prior to Christ entering this world as found in Deuteronomy 6:5 “ You shall love the Lord Your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Jesus was clearly explaining not only to the man, but the teachers of the laws how they had neglected reading and teaching scripture as they should have done. (see Matt. 22:23 on how they had neglected; justice, mercy and faith)
Loving God was, is, and continues to be the one true message that all mankind is to faithfully obey.
Continuing on in Matthew 19:20, the man replied “ All these I have kept. What do I still lack ? Jesus replied “ If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.” What then was the man’s response after hearing what Jesus said ? He walked away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
The Apostle Paul addresses and clearly explains what loving money and material possessions above loving God means in I Timothy 6:9-10 “ Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. v10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” ESV It is not wrong for people to have money as long as it doesn’t place that money above serving and worshipping God. When money and possessions rule your life it leads to greed and a gateway to all forms of evil. What is your focus on where you set your priorities ?
Jesus knew that the man’s wealth, had become this man’s identity, power and meaning in life. It clearly shows how mankind places possessions, money and social status above loving God. We all struggle and still are guilty of not meeting the first commandment; “ You shall have no other god’s before Me. ” Our god’s have become the money, possessions, power, careers and status that we so desire to have in this world. The word for this is “Idolatry.” It is loving, worshipping, and placing more value on what we have in this world over loving and worshipping God. It is valuing the gifts God has given us over valuing the very giver of the gifts.
The answer to the very first question the man had asked Jesus in verse 16 - What must I do to enter eternal life was, is, and continues to be “ Follow Me ” Where do you place and value God in your life ? Is God your top priority ? Let me leave you with this verse as it relates to entering eternal life as found in John 14:6 “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Start today – Don’t delay and change your life - Let the power of God’s words speak to you and be filled with a peace and joy beyond measure.
Find additional inspiration and encouragement found in the books “Finding Calm in the Storm of Everyday Living” or “Heart and Soul” either going to Amazon directly or hitting home at the top of this blog and scrolling down to the books.