Most people when asked, “Do you know where you are going when you die?” will answer, “Well, I hope I’m good enough to go to heaven.”
Mark 10:17 – 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?” (Verse 18) So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. (Verse 19) “You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” (Verse 20) And he answered and said to Him, Teacher, all these things I have observed from my youth.” (Verse 21) Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” (Verse 22) But he was sad at this word, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.
At first glance, we will think “good is not good enough.” This story is also in Matthew 19:16, which puts the question the man asked a little different: “Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” Again, the focus seems to be, will I do more good than bad?
Most people that we talk to before they are truly saved or even Christians don’t understand the Bible and will say this, “I have done more good than bad.” Or they will say, “I’m not as bad as others.” They think that there is a big scale somewhere weighing the good against the bad.
But Jesus answers, and says, “There is no one good but One, God.” In other words: There is no one good enough to go to heaven but God.
Don’t take this the wrong way, as if we are never to do good works. We are saved to do good works. It almost, for a second, seems like Jesus is supporting this train of thought, “Am I good enough, or what shall I do?” Because, Jesus quotes the commandments to him and the man thinks he has done enough.
Jesus quoted six commandments, but there are ten. Why didn’t Jesus name all ten? The commandments are divided into two categories: The first four commandments have to do with man’s relationship to God. The last six commandments listed by Jesus, have to do with man’s relationship with man.
Just a side note: Jesus says these two are the greatest of the commandments: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul; the second is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. The first one covers the first four and the last one covers the last six of the commandments.
So, Jesus only list and tells the man the six that have to do with man’s relationship with man.” Why? Because the first commandment the man had already failed, which is “You shall have no other gods before Me.”
This man’s possessions was his god. Jesus went right to the heart of that because He could see into his heart.
Romans 3:12 – They have all gone out of the way; they have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”
People will argue with you about doing good, but the Bible is very plain when it has written, “No, not one! (I’m going somewhere, with this, so hold on.)
There is not one “good enough.” Here’s what the Bible says; If you have violated even one of these commandments, you are guilty of all! There is only One that is good, and just as Jesus said it belongs to God, perfect in all His ways.
However, we have degrees of good. For instance: This might not be good, but it’s not real bad either. Our good, is not good enough.
God requires total commitment according to this passage in Mark and this man. When Jesus starts to list the six commandments of “do’s and don’t’s, this man was feeling pretty good about himself because he hadn’t done any of those things Jesus listed. However, Jesus tells him there is one more thing he needed to do, “Sell all of your possessions and give it to the poor and take up your cross and follow Me.”
Maybe we need to ask ourselves, “Would I be willing to give everything I own away in order to go to heaven? Have you? Who is the owner of all our stuff? Don’t forget, God requires total commitment. Isn’t it funny that some of the same people that tell us they are completely sold out for God, have trouble even paying their tithes?
God does want us to prosper and He does bless us to be able to give, but are we being totally honest with ourselves about total commitment to God? Let’s not also forget: There are people who think they are a Christian who really are not! Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Money is always a sore spot with the saved or unsaved.
Did Jesus tell this man that he had to sell everything in order to go to heaven? No, He did not! Read Mark 10:21 again, “Then Jesus looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus was telling him to do the same thing every person has to do in order to got heaven, “Take up the cross and follow Me,” Matthew 16:24 says, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
The place where this man needed to deny himself, was in his possessions. Money was his god. These verses have nothing to do with God wanting us to be poor, as I’ve heard some Christians say. This has everything to do with, “Where is your treasure; where is your focus; where do you place the most value; what or who is first in your life?” We all need to get to the root of what stops us from being totally committed to God.
Everybody is different, so we need to ask ourselves this question: What is the one thing that is stopping me from having a full relationship with Christ?
We have to deny our-self in order to pick up the cross. Did you catch what Jesus said in Mark? “Jesus loved him.” Jesus loved him enough to tell him the truth! He loved him enough to confront him. He loves us enough to tell us the truth too. But the man went away sad. It laid heavy on his soul to get rid of all that he had.
Mark 10:23 – Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Let’s not exclude ourselves, because if you live in America, you have more than most in other parts of the world.) (Verse 24) And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! (Verse 25) “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Verse 26) And they astonished beyond measure, saying among themselves, “Who then can be saved?” (Verse 27) But looking at them, Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
The disciples were astonished when Jesus said this because the disciple had “riches.” Many think the disciples were poor. Peter and John left their fishing boats and their nets, all plural, with their hired servants. Poor people don’t have hired servants. Poor people don’t have employees. These were small business men. Matthew was a tax collector and we know how rich they were. These disciples weren’t poor. And that is why they were “flabbergasted” at what Jesus had said about it being easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.
Here is the bottom line of what Jesus was saying, “It is impossible for you or me to save ourselves! We need a Savior because not one of us is or ever will be good enough. That’s what Jesus meant when He said, “With men it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Our good is not good enough. That’s the bad news, but the good news is Jesus Christ is the bridge to the good news.
There has always been a misconception of this man. We just assume that the man went away and didn’t sell all of his possessions. Scripture never says that he didn’t or did do what Jesus told him to do.
But we know that a man names Josephus wrote about a man that was called the richest, youngest, ruler in Jerusalem. Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all say he was a rich young ruler. Matthew says he was young and Luke says he was a ruler. The story says that he had so much wealth that, he could support all the inhabitants of Jerusalem for 10 years. Josephus wrote about him because he was his brother. His brother’s name was “Nicodemus.” Now do you remember who this is now?
In John Chapter 3, Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night and Jesus tells him he needs to be born again. And in John 3:2 we know Nicodemus calls Jesus “Teacher.” Teacher is the same word used in Mark 10. But, Nicodemus uses the same word that this rich, young, ruler uses. In John 3:50-52, he comes to Jesus. In John 7, he stands and defends Jesus. In John 19:39, Nicodemus shows up at Jesus tomb bringing myrrh and aloes for Jesus body.
Also the tomb that Jesus was laid in belonged to “Joseph of Arimathea” whose best friend was Nicodemus.
Here’s what else we know about Nicodemus: If Nicodemus was the richest, why didn’t he put Jesus in one of his tombs? Why would he ask his best friend to use his tomb? Because if you follow the history, it tells us that Nicodemus sold everything he had!! Wow! He sold everything he had and became a disciple of Jesus. He was kicked out of the Sanhedrin because he professed faith in Christ.
I think this rich, young ruler that came to Jesus was one and the same that Jesus told to sell all he had, deny himself and pick up his cross and follow Him.
Are you totally committed to Jesus Christ? If you are not you cannot pick up your cross and follow Him with a whole heart.