Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler he could be saved by obeying the commandments?


Matthew 19:16 - 23

ESV - 16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life? 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Data Danny Hickman

This is a good study!

Matt 19:25 gives us a good understanding of what this was like. This rich, young, prosperous man comes to Jesus and seems to be wanting to throw in with Jesus and his cohorts. This verse says the disciples were "greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?"

They were amazed! They were shocked! And why should they not have been? Even now in this age, there are many who associate material wealth and political power with being favored by God. It's clear that the disciples reckoned that having riches and an elevated social status meant that you were favored by God for a relationship with him.

What preacher tells a potential rich congregant that he needs to go and get rid of his resources and come back to the church after he does? That is what astounded the disciples! Who tells a rich young man anything but "welcome aboard?" No one but Jesus!

To the disciples, Jesus was the leader of a movement. This young man comes to Jesus and he says, 'What do I have to do to become a member of this group, to become a part of this movement?' That's how it sounded to Peter and them; here is a guy who is rich and has some real authority, who wants to help! He was willing to do a "good deed" for his initiation.

I believe Jesus' initiation fee seemed excessive to them. Sure they had left all to follow Jesus, but none of them were said to be "rich young rulers."

How were they expecting Jesus to answer the young man? Give a tithe? Get baptized? Speak in tongues?

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