Encounters With Jesus: The Rich Young Ruler


Matthew 19: 16-22: 16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.


Reflection:  Here was a young man who had everything the world stated would make him happy and content.  He had wealth, he had power, he had position, and he even had a form of religion! 

Surely, he had interacted with other religious leaders, and now he meets Jesus.  Christ is different, and he knows it. Everything about Him is different; how he lives, talks, walks, is beyond any religious leader he has interacted with. So he asks him a religious question, “What good thing must I do to have eternal life”?

Jesus, seeing in his heart, purposely skips over the first commandments and does not utter the greatest commandment, but responds with the form of religion this man has been living his whole life!

The man responds with, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

Learn from the story of the rich ruler:  He missed the heart of God and by this, he missed everything!

Today, Jesus looks into your heart, what does He really see?

Is there something competing for Him truly being first place?

  • Have you allowed the stuff, comfort, and many things to pull you away from a real heart relationship with God?
  • Have you entered into a form a religion and missed the true heart relationship?

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4: 23)


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Ted is a federal employee who lives in Alexandria VA with the love of his life, Angie. They have three awesome adult children and one out-of-control small dog. Ted has previously served two churches as pastor and has over 25 years working for or with the federal government, including as a retired U.S. Marine. Ted's goal is to live Micah 6: 9 - to Act justly, (live with integrity in all areas of life), to love mercy, (to forgive as God has forgiven him and bring God's loving compassion to others), and walk humbly with His God (to walk and live every day for God)!