Good Teacher-Mark 10:17-22

Mark 10:17-22 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him.” Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'” 20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”  21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”  22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
Marco 10:17-22 “Mentre Gesù usciva per la via, un tale accorse e, inginocchiatosi davanti a lui, gli domandò: «Maestro buono, che cosa devo fare per ereditare la vita eterna?» 18 Gesù gli disse: «Perché mi chiami buono? Nessuno è buono, tranne uno solo, cioè Dio. 19 Tu sai i comandamenti: “Non uccidere; non commettere adulterio; non rubare; non dire falsa testimonianza; non frodare nessuno; onora tuo padre e tua madre” ». 20 Ed egli gli disse: «Maestro, tutte queste cose le ho osservate fin dalla mia gioventù». 21 Gesù, guardatolo, l’amò e gli disse: «Una cosa ti manca! Va’, vendi tutto ciò che hai e dàllo ai poveri, e avrai un tesoro in cielo; poi vieni e seguimi». 22 Ma egli, rattristato da quella parola, se ne andò dolente perché aveva molti beni.»
 
     When Jesus was on His way Jerusalem, a wealthy and influential young man, possibly a politician, came to him with an excellent question about inheriting eternal life. His comment of calling Jesus a “good teacher” was meant to inspire a response from Jesus such as “good student, you have done well”; but the reply from Jesus was more than he could handle. The man had a faulty understanding in thinking that goodness was something measured by human standards…and by his own account, he was good! In knowing this man’s heart, Jesus pointed out five of the Ten Commandments in order to expose the question of his “goodness”. Notice that after the man found out what was required of him, he no longer addressed Jesus as “good” teacher but attempted to point out his own goodness in keeping the commandments. Jesus, as in every situation, tailored an appropriate answer.
     The message from Jesus warrants further study. Notice that Jesus says “do not defraud” in the middle of his list of commandments. “Do not defraud” is not in the list of the Ten Commandments although it is certainly implied by the seventh, eighth and ninth commandments (do not covet your neighbor’s house and possessions, do not steal and do not give false testimony). This man may not have been as good as he claimed to be. By saying the words “do not defraud”, Jesus implied the way this man had become rich and influential. His prominence seems to have come about by taking advantage of others, manipulation and an element of dishonesty in business. Jesus gives him a chance to make things right in his life. In order to do so, he must divest himself of all his possessions (however he obtained them), give it to the poor and follow Jesus to Jerusalem. 
     The deception of this young man’s life is now open; but he could not accept the terms of surrendering to Jesus. He left the encounter with Jesus a sad and broken man. Obviously, he felt his temporal life was more important than his eternal life. 
Pray with me: Lord, I know that my efforts at “goodness” will never substitute for true submission to You. Help me to choose to follow You when You point things out in my life that need to be changed.


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