Matthew 19:16-30 (cf. Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30)—If Jesus was God, why did He seem to rebuke the rich young ruler for calling Him good? The rich young ruler called Jesus “Good Teacher,” and Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” Yet on other occasions, Jesus not only claimed to be God (Mark 2:8-10; John 8:58; 10:30), but He accepted the claim of others that He was God (John 20:28-29). Why did Jesus appear to deny that He was God to the young ruler?
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
In my opinion, Jesus was not rebuking the young ruler in the sense of saying that He did not deserve that term of address, or that the ruler was wrong in using it, but in order to have him realize the full implications of what he was saying by using that word -- that is, he was acknowledging Jesus as God (and rightly so, in accordance with the occasions cited in the question when Jesus Himself accepted that characterization). And the young ruler subsequently showed that he did not regard Jesus in that sense by being unwilling part with his riches, which were his true "god".
The rich young ruler addressed Jesus as good teacher. Not the Son of God. Then he tried to justify himself because he kept the law. So Jesus gave him something to do to prove to him the law could not save. The rich young ruler had no need of a savior. He was trusting in his own righteousness to get to heaven. The rich young ruler was a sinner like everyone else and needed to be born again. Ephesians 1:13-14. The thief on the cross believed Jesus was the Son of God and was saved the instant he believed. The rich young ruler never accepted that Jesus was the Son of God who was about to die to pay for the sins of the whole world so that anyone could be saved by faith alone in His one blood sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. First John 2:2. Jesus knew his heart, that he was yet an unbeliever. John 3:18 Giving up money or anything else never saved one person. Salvation is a GIFT from God to us. It is what He did for us that saves us, not anything we do or do not do. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. The GIFT of God is eternal Life. It cannot be earned or worked for. Romans 4:5 Faith alone apart from any works for the free gift of eternal life. The rich young ruler was religious. He boasted that he kept the law. Romans 3:26-28 For He is the just and the justifier of them that believe in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? By the law of works? Nay, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. The Law was given to show us we are all sinners and deserve to go to hell. Jesus paid the debt we owe God and set us free. It is what He did for us that saves us. We have no way to pay our sin debt to God. Jesus took the punishment we deserve so that God accepted His sacrifice for our sin. Romans 4:7-8 The rich young ruler did not believe Jesus was the Son of God. John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me HATH EVERLASTING LIFE. Only God can give eternal life. John 10:28-29. And no one knows they need a savior until they know they are a sinner and have need of savior. Romans 3:23. Romans 3:9-10 First John 1:8 and First John 1:10 We are all sinners to a degree because we are not perfect. But we have His imputed righteousness given to us when we accept His free gift of eternal life. Romans 4:6.Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth righteousness apart from works. Jesus paid it all and we paid 0. You cannot boast in 0. The GIFT of God is eternal life. Romans 11:6 All grace apart from works. Our works cannot save sinners which we all are. Galatians 2:21 I do not void the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. The law could not save. Jesus fulfilled the law for us.
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.