And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master…
I. We have here an INQUIRER. There are many things about him which awaken interest. He was young, thoughtful, an inquirer after the most momentous matter that can engage the attention of a man; not after methods of worldly success, speculative or antiquarian subjects.
II. HOW JESUS DEALT WITH THE YOUNG MAN. Christ "knew what was in man." He varied His treatment of inquirers so as to meet the character, history, and disposition of each. He touched the conscience always in the quick. To Nicodemus: woman at the well. This young man had a narrow view of the commandments; he did not love God with all his heart. Christ put before him the same alternative which, in many different forms, He puts before some of His people yet in the dispensation of His providence. The one thing needful is always entire self-surrender to God.
III. THE CONVERSATIONAL COMMENT OF THE SAVIOUR ON THE YOUNG MAN'S DECISION. "How hardly shall they that have riches," etc. He does not mean to say that wealth is a bad thing. Intrinsically riches have no moral character; all depends upon the use. Our Lord does not mean to say that it is an absolutely easy thing for a man that has no riches to enter the kingdom of God. Poverty has spiritual perils. It is not the amount of a man's possessions, but the view which he entertains regarding them, that determines whether he will, or not, enter the kingdom of God. Salvation is a supernatural work. "With God all things are possible."
1. That the whole battle of conversion has to be fought over that which is dearest to the heart.
2. We may see here how an experience like this youth's takes the attraction even out of that which the heart prefers to Christ. "He went away grieved." He had discovered his slavery, and such gladness as he had formerly known even in his possessions dropped in a large measure out of his heart. In that one interview with Christ he had seen, as never before, the world's power over him; and even while he yielded to it, he loathed it. His property had a fascination for him, yet it seemed, even as he clung to it, the very price for which he had sold eternal life; and he could neither give it up, nor regard it with as much complacency as before. Just as the drunkard in his inmost soul loathes his slavery, even while he is draining the bottle to its dregs, and has no more such enjoyment in its stimulus as he had at first, because that which was then a delight has now become a bondage; so this youth, now that he saw that his property owned him, rather than ha his property, had no longer the same delight in it as of yore.
(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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?