The Rich Young Ruler
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 “...The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” - Luke 18:27b


 There is an age old deception that God will not give us more than we can handle. Not only is that a misrepresentation of 1 Corinthians 10:13 but this can't be farther from the truth. More accurately put, God will not give us more than HE can handle. The Bible is full of stories of men who were pushed beyond what they could handle. For example, consider the Rich Young Ruler.


 The rich young ruler got a chance to ask Jesus questions directly. This is an opportunity a doubter would love to have. Here we will look at what crucial question he asks, and Jesus response to that question.


 The rich young ruler learned this first hand.


 "And someone came to Him and said, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?"


 "And He said to him, "Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments."






 "The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"


 "Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."


 "But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. - Matthew 19:16-22


 I believe Jesus statement above was one absolutely full of love. Oh yes, it is the truth. The cold, no I take that back, the warm, hard truth. For you see, this rich young ruler was deluded up until this point.


 What do we know about this man? We know he was a ruler (Luke 18:18) which means he was one in authority with some measure of power. We know he was rich, not only that, but EXTREMELY rich as put in Luke 18:23. But furthermore, and I'm actually impressed with this next part if this rich young ruler is a man of his word. And that is that this rich young ruler has kept many of the commandments since his youth. His testimony before Jesus is that he has not committed adultry, he has not murdered, he has not bore false witness, he has honored his father and mother, and he has loved his neighbor as himself. Wow. I am indeed impressed, and since his youth even! A man who loves his neighbor as himself, and does not bear false witness? I would want this guy running in office as well. So why then is Jesus so hard on him? Let me stop there. Jesus is not. You see this man is what the world would label a "good man". He is still young yet he is rich, he is a ruler, and to some measure, he obeys the law. Why then if Jesus has plainly told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and nobody comes to the Father except by and through Him (John 14:6), why then does Jesus tell this man something else.


 He doesn't. He commands no more of this man than he commands of us, that is, that we are to be perfect (Matt. 5:48). But the way he presents it to the ruler is a way this man would understand. Jesus met him on his level and gave him a sobering message of truth that, by the rich young rulers reaction, accomplished the very purpose Jesus' word was sent out to do, leaving the young ruler very sad (Luke 18:23) and literally grieving (Matthew 19:22). Do you recognize this grieving? I do. It's the grief of failure. Of the inability to measure up. It is the sadness of knowing what is required of you and falling short of accomplishing that requirement. It's justly being found guilty in the court of law. It is the nasty state of recognizing you're a sinner and you're wretched.


 Are you feeling Jesus love for the rich young ruler yet? If not, I hope to change that now. I'm convinced there is no other word Jesus could have given him that could be more to his benefit. For you see, similar to the apostle Peter, the rich young ruler needed to fail! He had accomplished so much up to this point. While still youthful he became rich, he became powerful, and he upheld the law, or at least claimed to. But I guarantee you he did not uphold them all (Rom. 3:23). Jesus knew his heart and presented him with an impossible scenario. I say impossible not because the task was impossible but because the man heart wouldn't allow it. What Jesus commanded of him went against the core of his being. Up until this point this man had accomplished all that he had on his own merit. But Jesus, knowing that nobody can get to heaven on their own merit, but through Him alone gave the man a task he knew he would fail. Why is this loving? Because never before had this man seen himself as a failure. Never before had this man seen his inadequacy.


 The first step in looking for a savior is understanding your need for one. Who searches out a doctor when they aren't sick? Who applies a bandaid when they aren't cut? (Well my niece does).Who asks to be saved when they aren't in distress? We are all in distress (Rom. 3), but not all of us see that. I'm convinced that up until this point the rich young ruler didn't see it either. He had deluded himself into thinking he could obtain righteousness by his own merit. It appears he had even deceived himself when claiming to have obeyed the mentioned commandments. After all he said he had loved his neighbor as himself (Matt. 19:19), however there were poor around him while he was rich (Matt. 19:21). Possibly for the first time in his life he realized he needed help. For the first time he realized he did not have it within himself to meet what was required of him. What a blessing this realization of our own truthful state is. For it is in this state when we reach out for a savior. It is in this state we cry out oh God help. And it is in this state we stand before the cross, and we say, Thank you Jesus!


 But He said, “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” - Luke 18:27


  For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. - 1 Cor. 1:18



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