~Matthew 19:16-22 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? (16) And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. (17) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, ( 18 ) Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (19) The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? (20) Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. (21) But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (22)
Master was used in Jesus’ day to describe an instructor, teacher or doctor. The word was also used for the master of a household. How interesting it is that Jesus could fulfill these! Today’s Scripture passage is a well-known one and it cuts to the very heart of man.
Here is a young man who comes to Jesus and recognizes that Jesus is special. He not only called him Master, but Good Master. Then he asks Jesus what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? Jesus’ response is one that every good person should take heed to. Jesus wanted to cut to the core of this young man. He knew that this young man was a “good” Jewish man and that he was trying to work his way to Heaven. Jesus also knew that this man kept the Law and lived by it. Like any good teacher, the Good Master even outlined the areas “of good” this man was striving to do so that he could inherit eternal life: he kept all of the commandments, the Law, and Jesus named them. The man responded to Jesus, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”
What a great question! If you are trying to work your way to Heaven by following the teachings of your religion, you are like this young man. The Good Master knew the young man’s heart and knew that there was something that was really important to him – it had a “clutch” on him. Jesus told him to sell everything he had, give it to the poor, and come and follow Him. Had riches not had a grip on the young man, it would have been nothing for him to give up. The fact that he was sorrowful and went away shows that his riches meant more to him than following Christ.
Does Jesus require all men to give up everything and live like a pauper? No! But He does want you to be willing to give everything up. Do you hear Jesus’ message The Good Master is trying to teach you in His Word. What do you place ahead of salvation? Is it money? Is it your spouse or your family? Is it fear of leaving the teachings you’ve had all your life – that familiarity? Do you think that all those good deeds you are doing will get you to Heaven? Do you think that following the traditions of your church will get you to Heaven? Notice that this young man did all the things required of him yet Jesus told him it was not enough.
Jesus knows your heart just as He knew the heart of this rich young man. You can be entrenched in catholicism, Judaism or whatever religion. But what does God’s Word say? Jesus may not require you to give up your wealth, but he will definitely require you to give up working your way to Heaven, just as He did with this young man.
~Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
There is nothing you can do that will get you any closer to Heaven. The only work that can successfully get you to Heaven is the work of Jesus Christ – His death on the cross, the shedding of His own blood, and His resurrection! Christ did all the work – all we need to do is to accept the fact that there is nothing more we can add to it. This rich young man did everything he was taught to get to Heaven but it was not enough.
~Romans 3:24-25 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
So where do you stand today? Does your religion mean more to you than following Christ? Does your family mean more to you than following Jesus? Jesus had nothing against riches. But Jesus knew that riches meant more to this young man than salvation. How very sad, indeed! Let the Master teach you instead of man!