And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And a certain ruler asked him, . . .—See Notes on Matthew 19:16-25; Mark 10:17-22. St. Luke alone describes the inquirer as a “ruler.” As used without any defining genitive, and interpreted by Luke 23:13; Luke 23:35, John 3:1; John 7:26; John 7:48, et al., it seems to imply that he was a member of the Council or Sanhedrin. The term “youth,” in Matthew 19:20, is not at variance with this inference. It is defined by Philo as including the period between twenty-one and twenty-eight—an age at which a place in the Council was probably open to one who was commended both by his wealth and his devotion. St. Paul obviously occupied a position of great influence at a time when he is described as a “young man” (Acts 7:58).Luke 18:18-30. And a certain ruler — The following account is given us both by Matthew and Mark; from whom we learn, that he was a young man, and very rich: but only Luke informs us that he was a ruler, or magistrate. For an explanation at large of this whole paragraph, see notes on Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-27. Yet lackest thou one thing — Namely, to love God more than mammon. Our Saviour knew his heart, and presently put him upon a trial which laid it open to the ruler himself. And to cure his love of the world, which could not in him be cured otherwise, Christ commanded him to sell all that he had. But he does not command us to do this; but to use all to the glory of God.Matthew 19:13-30.
This case presents some remarkable points. (1) The man was of irreproachable moral character; and this amidst all the temptations of youth, for he was a "young man" (Mt 19:22), and wealth, for "he was very rich" (Lu 18:23; Mr 10:22). (2) But restless notwithstanding, his heart craves eternal life. (3) Unlike the "rulers," to whose class he belonged (Lu 18:18), he so far believed in Jesus as to be persuaded He could authoritatively direct him on this vital point. (4) So earnest is he that he comes "running" and even "kneeling before Him," and that when He was gone forth into the war (Mr 10:17)—the high-road, by this time crowded with travellers to the passover; undeterred by the virulent opposition of the class he belonged to as a "ruler" and by the shame he might be expected to feel at broaching such a question in the hearing of a crowd and on the open road.Matthew 19:16-26; and with (if not the same) very like to it. Mark 10:17-27. See Poole on "Matthew 19:16", and following verses to Matthew 19:26. See Poole on "Mark 10:17", and following verses to Mark 10:17. The history is of great use to us.
1. To show how far a man may go, that yet is a great way short of a truly good and spiritual state. He may know that nothing in this life will make him perfectly happy. He may desire eternal life, and salvation. He may go a great way in keeping the commandments of God, as to the letter of them. He may come to the ministers of the gospel to be further instructed. But herein he will fail, he will not come to Christ that he may have life, but fancy he should do something meritorious of it; he doth not aright understand the law, and that there is no going to heaven that way, but by the perfect observation of it, and therefore fancies himself in a much better state than he is.
2. It instructs us in this, that there is no coming to heaven by works, but by a full and perfect obedience to the whole revealed will of God.
3. That every hypocrite hath some lust or other, in which he cannot deny himself. This ruler’s lust was his immoderate love of the world, and the things thereof.
4. That it is a mighty difficult thing for any persons, but especially such as have great possessions on earth, to get to heaven.
5. As difficult and almost impossible as it may appear to men, yet nothing is impossible with God. He can change the heart of the rich, and incline it to himself; as well as the, heart of the poor. The rich man hath more impediments; but be men rich or poor, without the powerful influence of God upon the heart, without his free grace, no soul will be saved. Matthew 19:20 a ruler among the Jews, a civil magistrate, and a very rich man; he ran after Jesus, and overtook him in the way, as he was going towards Jericho, Mark 10:17
saying, good master; "Rabbi"; or doctor,
what shall I do to inherit eternal life? See Gill on Matthew 19:16.And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Luke 18:18-27. See on Matthew 19:16-26; Mark 10:17-27.
ἄρχων] perhaps a ruler of the synagogue; comp. Matthew 9:18. Luke alone has this more precise designation of the man from tradition, and herein diverges from Matthew 19:20.
In the answer of Jesus, Luke 18:19, Luke simply follows Mark, abbreviating also at Luke 18:20. The Marcionite reading: ὁ γὰρ ἀγαθὸς εἷς ἐστὶν, ὁ θεὸς ὁ πατήρ, is nothing but an old gloss (in opposition to Volkmar, Hilgenfeld), not more Marcionite than the reading of the text, and this latter is no anti-Marcionite alteration. Both forms of the expression are already found in Justin, and our Gospel of Luke is to be regarded (Zeller, Apostelg. p. 32 f.) as his source for the form which agrees with the passage before us (c. Tryph. 101). Comp. on Mark 10:17.
Luke 18:22. ἔτι ἕν σοι λείπει] does not presuppose the truth, but only the case of what is affirmed by the ἄρχων. It does not, moreover, assert the necessity of selling one’s goods and distributing them to the poor, in order to be perfect in general, but only for the person in question, in accordance with his special circumstances, for the sake of special trial. See on Matthew 19:21. Hence there is not to be found, with de Wette, in the words an application of the saying of Jesus that gives any pretext for mistaken representations.Luke 18:18-23. The young ruler (Matthew 19:16-22, Mark 10:17-22). From a didactic point of view this narrative is closely connected with the two preceding. The three set forth conditions of entrance into the Kingdom of God—self-abasement, childlikeness, and single-mindedness.18-30. The Great Refusal. The Young Ruler who loved Riches more than Christ.
18. a certain ruler] St Matthew (Matthew 19:20) only calls him “a young man.” He was probably the young and wealthy ruler of a synagogue. The touch added by St Mark (Luke 10:17), that he suddenly ran up and fell on his knees before Him, seems to imply that he was eager to catch the opportunity of speaking to Jesus before He started on a journey, probably the journey from the Peraean Bethany, beyond Jordan (John 10:41-42), to the Bethany near Jerusalem, to raise Lazarus.
Good Master] This title was an impropriety, almost an impertinence; for the title ‘good’ was never addressed to Rabbis by their pupils. Therefore to address Jesus thus was to assume a tone almost of patronage. Moreover, as the young Ruler did not look on Jesus as divine, it was to assume a false standpoint altogether.
what shall I do to inherit eternal life?] In St Matthew the question runs, ‘what good thing shall I do?’ Here, again, the young ruler betrays a false standpoint, as though ‘eternal life’ were to be won by quantitative works, or by some single act of goodness,—by doing and not by being. It was indeed the fundamental error of his whole class. Romans 9:32.Luke 18:18. Ἄρχων, a ruler) and that ruler a youth, Matthew 19, 20. [It was not so much the dignity of his rank, as his personal wealth, that influenced him, a young man though he was (whose besetting sin is not usually love of money), to draw back from the Saviour.—V. g.]Verse 18. - And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life! This incident is related in the three synoptical Gospels. St. Matthew speaks of him as the young man. St. Luke here styles him a ruler; by some the title is supposed simply to denote that he was the ruler of a synagogue or congregation; others, however, consider that it denotes that the subject of the narrative was a ruler of the Jews, and possibly, but this is of course doubtful, a member of the Sanhedrin. His youth (Matthew 19:20) is not at variance with this inference. Youth is defined by Philo as including the period between twenty-one and twenty-eight. All the three evangelists mention his great wealth. Dean Plumptre suggests that his large possessions and evident devotion had probably opened to him, at a comparatively early age, a place in the great council. His question concerning eternal life indicates that he was a Pharisee, and he evidently represented the noblest phase of this religious party. He had sedulously followed out the precepts of the best rabbinic schools of his day, but there was something lacking, he felt, and his intercourse with Jesus and the influence of the Master's words led him to take this question point-blank to the famous Teacher, who he felt - alone of any master whom he had met - was able to satisfy this longing desire of his heart.
Peculiar to Luke.
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