The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) Commentary


A young man approaches Jesus asking how to get to heaven. Depending on the translation, he either calls Jesus “good” or asks what “good” thing he has to do. Jesus implies that calling him “good” assumes that he is God, because only God is good.  Jesus tells him to follow the commandments.  The asks which ones, as in  Which ones do I definately need to follow? Are any expendable? Are some more important than others? Jesus lists a few, but not all of them. He is testing the man’s intentions. The man responds he already keeps those, and always has. Yet, something is missing. He is not fulfilled. Looking for assurance, the man asks, Do I need to do anything else? Jesus could have said no, that’s good enough. The young man could have went home more confident in his salvation, but likely no more fulfilled then when he came. Jesus doesn’t let anyone off that easy.  He never lets you stay the same as you were.  Jesus changes your life.

Go sell all you have, Let go of all that stuff that you think is so important. Its pulling you away from God. Give it to the poor Jesus was the greatest advocate for the poor. If we give, we give because of the commands of Jesus. Giving for self-glory, or because it is imposed upon us, is not from our heart, and does not glorify him.  And then, follow me. Walk with me, let me teach you. Get rid of all the stuff you have, that burdens your mind and keeps you up at night.  Come with me, I’ll take you away from all that and show you God. Let me forgive you, let me save you. Let me give you eternal life.

That, to the young man, was a difficult choice. Perhaps it wasn’t the answer he wanted, but it may have been the answer he expected. It was the invitation to the change he had been looking for, but he could not, at the time accept it. Think of Zacchaeus (See Luke 19), who after accepting Christ into his life,  gave away half of his belongings to the poor and paid back all who he had wronged. He was so joyous to know Jesus and be saved! The truth from Jesus should make us joyous, but at times, worldly things weigh upon our hearts. We may hope, that someday the young man changed his mind, and gave himself to Jesus. Before we judge the man for walking away, we would do well to ask ourselves what stands between us and God, and if Jesus is before all else in our lives.

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One thought on “The Rich Young Ruler (Matthew 19:16-22) Commentary

  1. The giving is a respond to christ. Christ has given us riches in different forms, both material n Talents n expects us to always use them for the advancement of His Kingdom. But it really saddens to see how we selfishly Own them Excluding God.

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