Read Luke 17 -- 18
Awealthy young man seemed to feel a desperate need in his life; he ran to Jesus and knelt down before Him with no concern as to what others might think. This young ruler then said to Jesus: Good Master, what shall I do to inherit Eternal Life? (Luke 18:18-27; see also Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31). Since he knelt before Jesus, he clearly understood that Jesus was the Messiah and that, beyond this physical life, there was an eternity, a real personal existence. In a lifetime, no one question could be of greater importance.
All three of the Gospels mention his great wealth. His question concerning Eternal Life indicates that he was a Pharisee, for an afterlife was one of their major doctrinal convictions, as opposed to the Sadducees who did not believe in life after death.
Luke records that this young man was a certain ruler -- perhaps a member of the Sanhedrin, well-versed in the Law, and very "religious." He was no hypocrite. Jesus did not question his integrity when he said, All these (the commandments) have I kept from my youth up (Luke 18:21). In response to his most vital question: What shall I do, Jesus said: You lack one thing: sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven: and come, follow Me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich (18:22-23). This young ruler was unwilling to give up the pleasant life that he loved so much, as well as the influence, prestige, and financial securities that his wealth provided. His response revealed, through the things he prized so highly, that he was also very covetous. He was very religious -- but he was eternally lost.
Note carefully that the question was not: "What shall I 'believe' or 'confess' or 'pray'?"; but: What shall I 'do' to inherit Eternal Life? Jesus' answer revealed that the young man, in reality, had not even kept the first and second commandments for he loved himself and his possessions more than he loved his God or the Savior. Being a disciple of Jesus demands daily spiritual commitment.
This should not be twisted to mean that Eternal Life can be earned by self-effort or sacrificial giving. It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration (the new birth), and renewing of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). As Jesus pointed out to this very sincere man who fell on his knees before Him, it is also vital to realize that faith, if it has not works, is dead (James 2:17). We must be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving our own selves (1:22). Salvation is more than believing, kneeling, and confessing that Jesus is the Messiah. The Apostle Paul urged the Philippians: Wherefore, my beloved . . . you have always obeyed. . . . For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom you shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the Word of life (Philippians 2:12-16).
Word Studies: 17:8 sup means to take something to eat and/or to drink; 17:9 trow means trust, think, give acceptance to; 18:1 faint means give up; 18:3 Avenge means Provide justice and protection.
For Luke 18:20: See Ex. 20:12-16; Deut. 5:16-20.
Government Official: Rep. Zach Wamp (TN) · Pray for Wallbuilders Inc. and David Barton · Country: Denmark (5 million) in northern Europe · Major languages: Danish and Faroese · Religious freedom · 92% Protestant; 1% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic; .5% cults; .1% Jewish · Prayer Suggestion: Pray when you are afflicted and suffering (James 5:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: Philippians 2:16