Last Week: The Persistent Widow, The Pharisee & The Tax Collector, and The Children all stories Christ tells to show us how to approach God. This week: The Young Rich Ruler, there is more about approaching God, but Christ also speaks directly to how we are to enter into the Kingdom. Christ’s exchange with the ruler leads to a back and forth about eternity and ends with Christ disclosing to the clueless disciples how it will all end for Him on earth as the Messiah.

Ch 18:18-34

18 Now a certain ruler asked Him saying, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

  • Text says certain ruler, he is called ‘The Rich Young Ruler’
  • He asks what must I do? As in how do I earn eternal life?
  • The idea of eternal life being inherited is about religious entitlement

19 And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except one: God. 20 You know the commandments: you shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, you shall not steal, you shall not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.”

  • Christ make a clear distinction God & humans, no human is good, only God
  • He then shifts to the idea of the man keeping the law
  • These commandment Christ lists are meant to represent the whole law
  • Truly defined these commandments cannot be kept by human power
  • Biblical definition of Adultery (all sex outside of God ordained marriage)
  • Murder (not Killing)
  • Stealing (taking of anything, even ideas & credit)
  • False witness (Commission & Omission)
  • Honoring your parents (not dependent on them being honorable)

21 The man replied; “All these I have kept since my youth.”

  • So here is why they call him ‘young’; the only past he can cite is his youth
  • He tries to claim he has kept all of God’s Law according to the Jewish religion
  • It is surprising Jesus dosen’t call BS right then and there
  • He is going to let the ‘Young Ruler’ prove himself false in his claim

22 Upon hearing this Jesus said to him, “One thing you still lack: sell all that you possess and distribute the proceeds to the poor, and then you will have treasures in heaven. Then come follow me.”

  • Christ says: ‘I will assume you are telling the truth, so you will do what I ask”
  • He tells him to sell all of his ‘stuff’ and give the proceeds to those in need
  • You will not actually lose anything because you will be rewarded eternally
  • And surrender your life to following Me (God / Messiah / Son of Man / Christ)
  • Jesus asked him to demonstrate what had priority in his life; stuff or God

23 But when he heard this he became very sad; he was extremely wealthy.

  • Here is why we call him rich: he had lot’s of stuff & money
  • He dosen’t own his wealth, his wealth owns him!
  • His possessions have come between him & eternal life
  • No middle ground: either you are possessed by God or by your possessions

24 Jesus looked at him, becoming very sad, and said, “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! 25 In fact it is easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God!”

  • Christ sees the ‘Young Rich Rulers’ heart, it’s not for God, & that saddens Him
  • It makes Him sad because He knows many will fall into this trap
  • He declares how difficult it is to have resources and enter relationship W/ Christ
  • It is a mini parable about a Universal Spiritual Truth
  • How a camel enters the door known as the ‘eye of the needle’
  • Those with wealth must emulate the camel: lose the stuff & get on your knees

26 Those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?” 27 Jesus said, “What is impossible for mortal beings is possible for God.”

  • The response to Jesus is: “That is super hard, how can anyone pull that off!”
  • Christ makes the point: You can’t earn heaven or have it passed down to you
  • Heaven is only entered into by those who God gives ‘Grace’ (undeserved favor)
  • Who can be saved? Whoever God enables to be saved: end of story
  • Knowing you can’t do enough to be good enough for God is the starting point
  • Then asking God to do what only He can…and being good with Him calling all the shots
  • I know I begged Him to save me… I was willing to give up whatever He asked
  • Giving up stuff dosen’t get you saved, it proves God’s work in you of salvation

28 Then Peter said, “ Look, we have left what was ours and followed you.”

  • Peter is like, ‘Yeah, we have done that, given up everything to follow Christ’
  • They didn’t do it to win God’s favor, it was their response to experiencing it

29 Then Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, there is no one who has left home or wife or siblings or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God 30 who will not receive many times as much in this age and in the age to come; eternal life.

  • Pat attention when Christ says: ‘I tell you the truth’
  • Sacrifice made at God’s request and for His purposes will be blessed
  • The rewards in this life are relational
  • In the next age, eternal life with Christ is THE reward (no eye has seen…)

31 Taking the twelve aside, He said to them, “See we are going up to Jerusalem, and everything written by the prophets regarding the Son of man will be carried out. 32 For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be ridiculed and ill treated and spate on. 33 Then after scourging Him they will kill Him, but on the third day He will rise again.”

  • To the twelve Christ describes part of how that eternal life will be purchased
  • It is the example of sacrifice Christ gives His followers
  • He is going to give up everything He has in this life for things more valuable

34 But the twelve understood none of these things; in fact, what He said was kept hidden from them and they did not grasp what was being said.

  • Christ implanted un-comprehended truth that the Spirit would later illuminate


There have been and will always be the idea that you can earn or inherit eternal life.

It is immature, prideful and foolish for anyone to believe they can keep God’s law.

An unwillingness to part with possessions will keep you from eternal life.

Christ’s followers use possessions to help those in need & approach God humbly.

The ability to give up your life for Christ is God given, only He can make it happen.

Sacrifice of what we have will lead to a greater richness for this life and eternity.

Christ leads the way for us in showing how sacrifice leads to God’s glory.

We may not understand what Christ is modeling for us, but by faith we will one day.


How well do you obey the ten commandments?

How do you plan to keep your possessions from coming between you and God?

What is your response to the Biblical truth that it is God alone who can save anyone?

In what ways does Christ’s sacrifice inspire your attitudes and lifestyle choices?