“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” (Matthew 19 v 16-17)
Here comes a man, a wealthy young man we will find out from Matthew and in Luke a ruler, perhaps a Jewish leader in the synagogue.
Matthew focuses less on who he is and more on what he wants. He is pursuing gain. His heart is to own something, to add to his mounting possessions, this is his one great concern, to have more. The ultimate is to get the ticket for eternal life. Of course he already knows how to do this but it seems hopeless. He knew that works saved and so he tirelessly and slavishly tried to keep everything. Jesus obviously knows this and that is why he tells the man to keep the commandments for eternal life. But performance religion becomes impossible.
Be careful what you are longing for. Be careful what grabs your attention. It may be good but it may not be God.
The young man came to Jesus with his concern and Jesus responded with his concern for the man. The young man came wanting and Jesus responded by wanting him.
Our concerns may not be His.
Desire for greatness, status, fame and fortune masked under religion is hard to expose. It is manipulative and deceptive. Above all it is sad because there is no end to it and once you are hooked you will die trying to be someone you were never created to be.
Response from Jesus: “what are you saying? Only God is good. Are you calling me God?”
He wasn’t. But Jesus brilliantly handles this situation which leaves us with a smile on our face. He does it a lot.