And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (Mark 10:17-30)

The Lord was directing this man to acknowledge Him to be truly God and not just a Master. This man who approached the Lord was a sincere seeker. He was also a serious seeker with a very serious question to ask. He asked how he might inherit eternal life. He asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. He did not want any obscure answer. He was not philosophical about the matter of eternal life. He believed there was eternal life and it was attainable. So he came asking the Lord and he wanted specific solution. He was interested in the doing part where he could perform something to inherit eternal life. His whole life was centred on doing something such as keeping the laws of Moses. In the Old Testament, the focus is on doing, if one has faith. No faith no works would result. However, works must never be taken for granted as one having faith. Works do not mean that one has faith in what he is doing.

This man wanted to know what else he must do because he was already a doer. He might be apparently tired of his present life. He wanted more, over and on top of all that he already had. He was not a poor man for he had great possession. But he wanted more. Why does he want more? Is not being rich good enough and should make a man happy and satisfied? So what if he was rich? He had to die someday and what would become of his wealth? He came to the same conclusion with Solomon that all was vanity. What would become of his wealth should he die? Would his descendents after him continue to preserve the wealth he had accumulated? Would his descendents squander away his wealth that he left behind? What would become of his effort then? Can he bring his wealth with him when he dies? So the question of inheriting eternal life was a pertinent question and one of great urgency.

He wanted to preserve his status and his wealth. He wanted continuance of his present status living forever in his wealthy state. He wanted to manage his wealth well too. He needed a financial advisor or perhaps he needed a wealth management guru to help him. Private bankers would love to service such clients. But financial advisors, wealth management experts and private bankers could not help him to obtain eternal life. These professionals might be able to bring this rich client to the greatest place on earth to indulge in the flesh, but obtaining eternal life is unlikely to be their cup of tea.

This man was not a fool when he approached the Lord. He must have done his research and heard about what the Lord had been doing; casting out devils, healing the sick, restoring the blind, raising the dead and so on. The Lord must have all the answers; otherwise, he could not have performed such mighty works. He knew he would be approaching the right person for the answer. He might even have contemplated giving a great reward to the Lord for a suitable answer for him to obtain eternal life. Paying professional fees for advice was quite natural and what more to have the solution to obtain eternal life!

This article is taken from a chapter in the book “The Heart of the Matter” which may be downloaded via:

The Heart of the Matter

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
John 5:39