Matthew 19:16 “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?”
The rich young man came to Jesus and asks what good thing he could do to have eternal life. [Matthew 19:16-26] He was thinking like the Jews of his day and as a rich man. Jesus told him “there is only One who is good” v.17b referring to Himself. The man did not catch what Jesus was saying. In order to help him face his sin Jesus said “if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” v.17c. The man should have known he was a sinner and that breaking even one commandment made him guilty of all. Yet he asked “Which ones?” v.18a Jesus answered with 5 of the last 6 commandments leaving off #10 “You shall not covet.” v.18b-19 Without considering his own sin he answered “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” v.20 Of course the man was denying his sin because he certainly had not kept these commandments and especially as Jesus expanded in Matthew 5. Jesus then turned to Commandments #1 and #10 and said “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” v.21
But the man was unwilling and unable [apart from the grace of God] to keep the 1st and 10th commandment so “he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.”
The disciples thought wealth was an indication of the blessing of God and were astonished that the rich man was not saved. vv.23-25 They asked “Then who can be saved?” v.21 I believe the answer is Matthew 18:3 “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn a and become like children b, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. CSB [a- repent-; b- trusting in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation] . We must humble ourselves and admit that within ourselves we have broken all God’s commandments and cannot save self by our works or doing good. The only answer is the great exchange offered by the cross of Jesus. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21; 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
“The Law says ‘do this’ and it is never done. Grace says ‘believe in this’ and everything is already done.” – Luther
23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” 26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Summary statement of ten commandments:
- 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.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
Henry Luke 3/18/2017