16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (Matthew 19:16)
We often refer to the poser of the above question as the “rich, young ruler.” And it is true—he was all of those things. Though, still young, he had already established himself as a leader within the Jewish community. It is also true that he was quite wealthy. In addition to, or even in spite of those two things, he was also a morally upstanding man, having kept God’s commandments from his early youth. His desire to learn more about spiritual matters drove him to run to Jesus, bow at His feet, and ask the most significant question a person can ask, “How can I obtain eternal life?”
The Lord’s showed compassion on him and was moved to tell him the one thing that he lacked in his endeavor. Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21). Jesus was known for His wisdom and insight into people’s lives. With this one, He bored deep into the young man’s heart and identified the crux of the matter—the one thing keeping him from surrendering fully to Jesus and following Him.
The rich, young ruler arrived at the correct Teacher at the best time with the most pressing question of humanity and received the right answer. It is a question and answer about the sincerity and depth of our surrender to Jesus. The rich, young ruler’s started off in a very promising way. That makes the end of the story even more heartbreaking. “When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Matthew 19:22).Can you picture the scene? The rich, young ruler was kneeling at Jesus feet—that is, until he heard the answer to his question. He slowly got up from his knees and slowly turned his back on Jesus. He had come face-to-face with the only begotten Son of God in human flesh. He had been offered eternal life straight from the lips of the Messiah. Yet he walked away downtrodden, unhappy and unsaved. Why? He refused to surrender everything to Jesus. This tragic account reminds us today of a simple yet profound reality: we cannot truly follow Jesus on our own terms. We have to follow Jesus on His terms—the terms of total and unconditional surrender. If we are not following Jesus on His terms, then we are not really following Jesus at all. What do you need to change to follow Him on His terms? Go be a blessing to someone this week and share the grace and love of Jesus to everyone! God Bless!!