Scott LaPierre Ministries

Scott LaPierre Ministries

Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler (Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-27)

August 27, 2023

The account of Jesus and the rich young ruler is sobering (Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-27). The rich young ruler looks zealous, humble, and sincerely interested in spiritual matters. But he was willing to walk away from Jesus because earthly wealth meant more to him than heavenly wealth.

Table of contentsWhy Didn't Jesus Preach the Gospel to the Rich Young Ruler?Not Courtroom LawyersWe Would Be Justified by the Law If We Kept It PerfectlyWe Must Be Justified by Faith Because We Can’t Keep the Law PerfectlyThe Rich Young Ruler Is the Opposite of Little ChildrenFollowing Jesus Requires RepentanceDo We Need to Sell All that We Have and Give It to the Poor?Giving Up Earthly Treasure for Heavenly TreasureJesus Loved the Rich Young RulerJesus Isn’t Chasing Us DownRiches Choked Jesus Out of the Rich Young Ruler's Life
The account of Jesus and the rich young ruler is sobering (Luke 18:18-23 and Mark 10:17-27). He walked away because of his earthly wealth.

The content of this post is found in my book, Your Finances God's Way, and there is an accompanying workbook and audiobook. I am praying God uses the book and workbook to exalt Christ and help people manage their finances well.

The problem with greed is not so much seen in our possessions, but rather what is possessing our hearts.
Sermon, Greed’s Graveyard, Luke 12:13-21, June 16, 2019. Randy Smith.

Read on to see how the rich young ruler's possessions possessed his heart.

Luke 18:18 And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The parallel account in Mark 10:17 says, "As [Jesus] was setting out on his journey, [the rich young ruler] RAN UP and KNELT BEFORE HIM." The rich young ruler sounds:

zealous: he ran up to Jesus.

humble: he knelt before him.

respectful: he called him Good Teacher and seems to think highly of him

sincerely interested in spiritual matters: he asked one of the most important questions we can ask: What must I do to inherit eternal life?" He believes in God and he wants to go to heaven.

Jesus responded...

Luke 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.

Jesus isn’t saying he isn’t good, and he isn’t saying he isn’t God. Instead, He’s saying there’s only One who is good and that’s God. If the rich young ruler calls Jesus good, he must also recognize he is God. Or another way to say it is, if the rich young ruler doesn’t recognize that Jesus is God, he shouldn’t be calling him good.

Luke 18:20a You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,

The seventh commandment.

Luke 18:20b Do not murder,

The sixth commandment.

Luke 18:20c Do not steal,

The eighth commandment.

Luke 18:20d Do not bear false witness,

The ninth commandment.

Luke 18:20e Honor your father and mother.’”

The fifth commandment. Apparently, when you’re Jesus, you can put the commandments in whatever order you want!

Why Didn't Jesus Preach the Gospel to the Rich Young Ruler?

If you weren’t familiar with this account, or in other words, if you didn’t already know how Jesus answered the rich young ruler’s question about inheriting eternal life, what would you expect Jesus to say? What would you say if someone asked you about inheriting eternal life?

"Repent and believe!"

Our minds can go to Paul and Silas receiving this question from the Philippian jailer…

Acts 16:30 [the Philippian jailer] said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 [Paul and Silas] said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.”

So, why did Jesus respond this way? Was he describing another way to be saved? I’m not trying to sound irreverent, but did he forget the gospel? And believe it or not, this isn’t even the only place Jesus responded this way! This account has similarities with the lawyer who tested Jesus.

Luke 10:25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying,