The Rich Young Ruler

Michael Wilcock

READ : Matthew 19:16-26

“What good deed must I do to have eternal life?” (v. 16)

We call him the “rich young ruler.” “Ruler” comes from Luke, “young” from Matthew; for “rich” Mark joins them—all three gospels underline the man’s wealth. They also focus searchingly on the challenge his wealth presented to him.

This young man had many goods, in more senses than one. He had a good record, good principles, good intentions—to say nothing of the good things money can buy. He also had the uneasy feeling that the best thing of all, the assurance of eternal life, was yet eluding him. So “what good deed . . . do I still lack?” Should I endow a charity, or build a synagogue?

Read again Jesus’ response in verse 17. The question is not what is good, but who is good. You ask me what is missing, Jesus says, but I tell you who is missing. Once you detach your heart and mind from all these things, and get to know the Person who is the source and pattern of all good, then everything else will fall into place, and you will be “complete” (v. 21 NASB).

And in one of the many touches which go to make up the biblical picture of his deity, Jesus adds: “That means following and getting to know me.”


May our hearts surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found.