Summary: Some people are willing to fulfill the requirement to attain eternal life in God’s kingdom and some find it difficult.
Text: “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (v. 17)
Did you ever ask that question? Have you ever given any thought to how one inherits eternal life or how one can be assured of spending eternity with Jesus in His kingdom?
There are people who do not give consideration to what will happen after their life on earth is over. In fact, some people believe that this is it, meaning there is no life after this life. Some people believe there is a heaven and some people believe there is a hell. Others don’t believe one way or the other.
As Christians and believers in what the Word of God says, we know in our heart that heaven and hell do exist. There are Christians who are wealthy and have all the material possessions one could ask for and there are Christians who are very poor and have no worldly possessions.
We all know that when we leave this earthly life, we take nothing with us. The important thing is that we know where we are headed when we take our last breath.
Mark records these words: “Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’”
Luke’s recording states, “Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’” (Luke 18:18).
Matthew records this same event just a little bit different. His recording says, "Now behold, one came and said to Him, ‘Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?’” (Matthew 19:16).
Mark’s version indicates to us that Jesus and His disciples were walking along the road, perhaps just leaving town, when someone ran to catch up with Him. The man had something on his mind that was disturbing him. He kneeled down before Jesus and addressed Him as “Good Teacher”.
This man must have known something about Jesus because he kneeled before Him as one bowing his soul in search for help. The act of kneeling before one shows great respect or admiration for that person. Then the man addressed Jesus as “Good Teacher” which indicates he was serious in what he was doing. He was like a student eager to get an answer to a question. He was willing to listen to what the teacher had to say. The question he was about to ask Jesus was one of utmost importance in the life of the man.
The man asked Jesus this question, “….what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (v. 17) This man thought eternal life depended upon what he did. There are people today who think they must work their way into heaven. In other words, all their good works entitles them to a reward and that reward is a room in the mansion just over the hilltop.
Our good works will not save us and get us into heaven. We cannot work to save ourselves. God’s Word says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Salvation is a gift. A gift is something given to us by another person. The person giving the gift does not want compensation or payment for the gift because they are giving it to us free of charge. God gave us the gift of salvation by grace. We are not required to work for it or pay for it. We need to thank Him for it just like we thank someone here on earth who has given us a gift.
The man asked the question that was on his mind and Jesus answered with these words: “You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, so not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother’” ( Mark 10:19).
When the man heard Jesus’ response, he probably stood up straight with shining eyes proud as a peacock because he said, “all these I have kept since I was a boy” (v. 20). The man’s pride showed through like a bright star. Unfortunately, for the man, Jesus could see beneath the man’s pride.
Jesus brought out the true nature of the man when He said, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (v. 21)
This is not the response the man wanted to hear because there was a barrier between the man and Jesus’ response. The man had great wealth and he was proud of what he had. His love of money was placed before his love for God. His attitude concerning money and his wealth was a barrier between him and God’s first commandment. The man could not stand to give up all his possessions and turn his life over to God the Father. He turned and went away sad.