And, behold, one came and said to him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?…
I apprehend that here lay the chief reason of our Saviour's great demand upon him. Is it not precisely because he is so good that that demand is so great? Is it venturesome to say the Master would not have made such a demand upon an inferior mind to his? That was not simply because, being a young man, he was better able to bear it: it was because, standing already, as he does, so high, occupying such a vantage ground — shall I put it this way — the Master's ambitions are fired, He sees him on such a level, and He would have him, at one grand stride, take the highest level of all. As when you have a lad at school of more than ordinary promise, you keep him longer there, you say the lad shows signs of genius, and the opportunity of becoming a genius shall not be wanting. Here are signs of uncommon goodness and greatness, and the opportunity should be afforded for accomplishing good. This view is borne out by the story. "Sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor," is not given in answer to the question, "What good thing shall I do?" but in answer to the question, "What lack I yet?" It is not, "If thou wouldst be saved, sell all that thou hast;" it is, "If thou wouldst be perfect." It is not merely a question of eternal life, but of eternal distinction. It is not a mere matter of getting through the curriculum, but of getting through it with honours.
(J. W. Thew.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?