Of all the people who ever came to the feet of Jesus, this young man is the only one who went away worse off than when he came. Yet when you consider his profile, he seemed to have a lot going for him. He was young and full of potential. He carried the respect of others. He had a legitimate interest in spiritual matters. He was also wealthy and had means. But unfortunately, he was also very shallow in his understanding of eternal life. He approached it as one more ‘thing’ he could add to his impressive resume.
A lot of people are under the assumption that salvation is a matter of good works outweighing their bad works. They think that they will go to heaven if the scales are tipped in their favor. The young ruler was proud of his record of law keeping, and he proudly declared to Jesus that he had kept the commandments from youth. But Jesus wanted the young man to see himself as a sinner in need of grace! The Lord probes the depths of his heart and puts His finger on the young man’s greed. When invited to part with his wealth and follow the Master, he walked away in sorrow.
It wasn’t the young man’s treasures that Jesus wanted. It was his heart. Yet if Jesus truly had his heart, he would have gladly parted with his treasures. The law can bring me to Christ, but it cannot give me eternal life and make me like Christ. Only grace can do that!
For more, read Mark 10:17-31