|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
19:16-22 Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world: they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful, perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these matters, for the Lord will try us.
Verse 20. - All these things have I kept [from my youth up]. The bracketed words are omitted in some good manuscripts, and by most modern editors; but they have high authority, and are found in most versions, and in the parallel passages of Mark and Luke. They accurately express the ruler's view of his conduct. He could say without hesitation or mental reservation that he had scrupulously observed the duties of the Decalogue from the time that he knew right from wrong. Of course, we accuse one who could make such a statement of self-righteousness, of ignorance of the spirit of the Law which he claimed to have obeyed; and if one of us spoke thus presumptuously, we should rightly condemn him; we should say that outward service and legal notions of duty were of little worth, and could not secure eternal life. But our Lord treated the young man differently. He did not blame him as boastful and self-deceiving; he had no reproof for his seemingly presumptuous assertion; he recognized his simplicity, honesty, and sincerity, and St. Mark tells us that "Jesus beholding [looking upon, or into] him, loved him." He read the youth's heart, saw how pure and guileless it was, recognized in him the possibility of great things, and that he was worthy of the saintly life. The ruler felt that there was more to come; hence he asks, What lack I yet? Τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ; In what respect am I still deficient? How do I come short of eternal life? He had still a sense of want. All that he had done had not given him peace of mind. Hence his inquiry. From a Christian the question would savour of ignorance and unspirituality; but this man asked it in all sincerity, desiring earnestly to know what more was required of him, and being ready, as he thought, to undergo any pain, make any, even the most painful effort, if by so doing he might win the prize on which his soul was set.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The young man saith unto him,.... For though he was so very rich and in such an exalted station in life, as to be a ruler, it seems he was but a young man; and to be so early serious and religious, amidst so much riches and grandeur, though it was but externally, was both remarkable and commendable: upon hearing the answer of Christ, with which he was highly pleased and greatly elated, he very pertly replies,
all these things have I kept from my youth up: as soon as he was capable of learning, his parents taught him these precepts; and ever since he had the use of his reason, and understood the letter, and outward meaning of them, he had been careful to observe them; nor could he charge himself with any open and flagrant transgression of them; not understanding the internal sense, extensive compass, and spirituality of them; and therefore asks,
what lack I yet? In what am I deficient hitherto? in what have I come short of doing these things? what remains at last to be performed? what other precepts are to be obeyed? if there are any other commands, I am ready to observe them, which may be thought necessary to obtain eternal life.
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