Mark 10:17-19 Now as Hew 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?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments:”

Whenever I have the opportunity to share the gospel one of the first things I will ask the unbeliever is this: If you were to stand before God and if He were to ask you why should I let you into my heaven, what would you say? Inadvertently, he will say, “Because I have been a good person, I have done a lot of good things for people, I try to live a good life”. These are some of the responses. The word good has been so misused that it has no value and so when we ask someone “How are things with your life?” his answer, “Good” doesn’t really tell us a lot.

Let us look at this rich young ruler. Obviously he is very wealthy and probably had lots of inheritance or may even be a hard working person who has accumulated all these wealth to earn this title of a rich young ruler. He had power, respect and wealth but there was one thing that escaped him and therefore he came forward to ask for the right way into heaven. He was very sincere about wanting to know how to have the assurance of salvation. He even knelt down before Jesus to find the truth. So when Jesus recited to him that he must not commit adultery, murder, steal, tell lies and honor his parents, He was in his own definition of “goodness” boasted that he had been doing all these things even as a youth.

The rich young thought he had followed the Ten Commandments to the fullest already and was good enough, perhaps hoping to hear Jesus say that he had qualified to get into heaven. He had perhaps approached our Lord Jesus Christ with an overestimation of his own righteousness and underestimation of what Jesus considers good. Doesn’t this sound familiar? It is not uncommon to find self-righteous people who think that they are so good that only they will be good enough to enter heaven. This is why Jesus said there is no one who is good but God.

In spite of his misconception of goodness, Jesus still loved the young rich ruler and challenged him saying, “One thing you lack: Go your way sell whatever you have and give to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word and went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:21-22. The young rulers unwillingness to part with his possessions and wealth only goes to show the god that he was worshipping because his wealth was his god. He worshipped the god of mammon and not the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob! This was a violation of the first commandment which say that “You shall have no other gods before Me” Ex 20:3.

Jesus showed the young ruler that he could not keep all the commandments all the time and that there was serious disobedience to worship Mammon instead of God, which is really what he needed to enter heaven. That was why he left in such a sorrowful state.