If you stood face to face with the Savior of the world, what would you ask Him? Perhaps, you would ask a similar question as the young man in today’s text: “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (v. 16). Jesus’ initial response was what one would expect from a Jewish rabbi. However, Jesus was about to teach him, and also us, a lesson no money on earth could ever buy.
The young man explained that he kept all the laws that Jesus proposed. But notice that these commandments dealt with one’s work and not with the heart. So when Jesus asked him to give up all his possessions and become His follower, the man could not do it. The text says, “he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (v. 22). The reality, however, is that his great wealth possessed him. Deep down, his heart and priorities were centered on his wealth, not on loving God.
The disciples were astonished at this exchange because, in early Judaism, wealth was a clear indication of God’s favor. If it was impossible for a rich man to enter heaven, they probably wondered how anyone could (vv. 23–25). Jesus responded by saying that it is only possible through the power of God (v. 26).
When we follow Christ, our priorities change. The things that used to be important, no longer hold our focus. For the rich young man, his possessions got in the way of his heart for God. By all earthly accounts, he was a moral man, but his morality could not save him. What he truly needed, only Jesus could provide.
>> What are your priorities? What do you work toward or sacrifice for?
Make a list and then examine it in light of today’s passage. Are you depending on your morality or on Jesus for your righteousness?