Summary: It is not about God grading on a curve, it is about being accepted because we have believed in and follow Jesus.
The Curious Case of the Rich Young Ruler
1. Those of us with little hair cannot have bad hair days. But many equivalents.
2. One blogger wrote: “Today, I was at work, nonchalantly spinning my keys around my finger when they flew off and hit a glass cabinet. Broken glass showered passing customers. I don't think I'll have a job to go to tomorrow.”
3. Or how about this one: “Today, I went to my parents' place to visit. My ex-boyfriend's photo is on the fridge, but there aren't any photos of my husband or any of our wedding photos.”
4. A man in the Bible was very devoutly religious; he had planned to see Jesus that day, and was hoping that Jesus would approve of him and commend him as an example. Instead, the man left with sadness and disappointment. He is the man we call the “rich young ruler.”
Main Idea: Like a complicated mystery with an involved plot, the case of the Rich Young Ruler seems straightforward at first glance, but is actually filled with mystery and subtle implications.
It is not about God grading on a curve, it is about being accepted because we have believed in and follow Jesus.
I. The Complexities and Questions This Passage RAISES
A What did God promise for TORAH observance?
Deuteronomy 30:15-16, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.”
B. Did Jesus deny being GOOD?
1. Many self-identifying Christians believe Jesus was a sinner
2. Liberal theologians call this Jesus self-admission of sin
3. But Jesus referred to himself as the “Good Shepherd” (John 10:18)
4. Hebrews 4:15 asserts of Jesus, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
5. Jesus is provoking thought — this is key to understanding this passage.
C. Why did Jesus paraphrase COVETING as “defrauding?”
D. Why did Jesus only include the RELATIONAL commandments?
E. What did it MEAN for this man to sell all he had and follow Jesus?
I Kings 19:19-21, “So he departed from there and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen in front of him, and he was with the twelfth. Elijah passed by him and cast his cloak upon him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah and said, “Let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you.” And he said to him, “Go back again, for what have I done to you?” And he returned from following him and took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh with the yokes of the oxen and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and went after Elijah and assisted him.”