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The Rich Young Ruler

By Lloyd Kim, Dec 24, 2019

When we read the Gospel accounts we quickly realize that all the people who come to Jesus want something from Him. The rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30 is no different. He asks Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The worst thing Jesus could have said to the man is, “Yes, indeed sir, you shall inherit eternal life because you are good and righteous, talented, rich, and educated.” This is what the rich ruler wanted Jesus to say—but this would seal the man’s dependence upon his own righteousness.

Instead, Jesus challenges him and says, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come follow me.” Because Jesus loves the young man, He exposes the one commandment that he has not kept, “Thou shall have no other gods before me.” The issue was not about wealth or greed, but about faith.

Jesus exposes the things that we hold on to for our significance, value, and security. He says, “Give it up for the sake of the kingdom of God and I will shower upon you much more than you can ever imagine.”

For the sake of the kingdom, Jesus gave up His power and glory, and was born a son of man. He understands what it means to give up everything—even his life on the cross to pay for the sins of His people, for us. He did what no ordinary man could do and it was His delight. Hebrews 12:2 describes Jesus, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross.” We are His joy.

The only way we can let go of the things of this world is by holding on to something much better—Jesus. Let us not settle for things that will not last. Knowing Jesus and being known by Him is eternal life, which we can experience even now by faith. When we have Jesus, we have security, value, comfort, peace, and significance. Because we have Him, it is no burden for us to give him back freely all that He has given us. In fact it is pure joy. What does Jesus want from us? He wants everything.

Lloyd Kim

Lloyd Kim is coordinator of Mission to the World. He is a former PCA pastor and a former missionary with MTW in the Philippines and Cambodia. He holds an M.Div. from Westminster Seminary in California and a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. Lloyd and his wife, Eda, are the parents of Kaelyn, Christian, and Katy.

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