The New Testament is filled with accounts of people who were on the very precipice of obedience, but for some reason we don’t see a record of follow through. I think of the scribe in Mark 12, to whom Jesus said, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (v 34). I think of Felix, who trembled at the word of God (Acts 24:25), and King Agrippa, who made one of the saddest statements in all of Scripture when we said, “Almost you persuade me to become a Christian” (Acts 26:28). Or even Pontius Pilate, who recognized and publicly declared Jesus’ innocence (Matt 27:24).
But the case with the Rich Young Ruler is particularly tragic, as he was so close to Jesus, not just in physical presence, but in a potentially soul saving conversation.
Consider the account in view of today’s blog title:
He came to the right source: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). There is no name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).
He came in the right manner: “he came running” (v 17). Given the seriousness of sin and the horror of hell, anyone in their right mind would do the same.
He came with the right attitude: he “knelt before Him” (v 17). Before one can be saved by Jesus, he must be willing to recognize Him as Lord and King.
He asked the right question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Of all the great questions one may ask, none is no more important than this, as it is the only one that speaks to the matter of eternal destiny (cf Acts 2:37; 9:6).
He received the right answer. While selling all that one has is not required of all men, taking up one’s cross and following Jesus is (cf Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23).
But here is the tragedy. He made the wrong decision: “he went away sorrowful” (v 22). Unlike Moses, who esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater than the treasures of Egypt (Heb 11:26), this young man could not see past his own wealth and possessions to see the richness of Jesus’ reward.
REMEMBER! Nothing is more valuable than your soul! Matthew 16:26