Rich Young Ruler – A Lesson in Ethics

Matthew 19:16-17

“And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

(1) Good: The passage is peppered with this word – from the person asking, to Jesus, to a reference about God (ironically enough – good with one less ‘o’). Seems to be the human query for time immemorial.

(2) Life: Life is the other word that is both asked and addressed in this passage – but eternal life can also be looked at as meaning ‘fulness of life’. Life is the other thing we humans are trying to figure out.

What the person wants to know is how do we define ‘good’? In this passage Jesus said the ‘One’ (God) is good (1st commandment). This is the premise of where the definition of ‘life’ will get its meaning.

How do we obtain ‘eternal life’? Jesus says plainly ‘keep the commandments’ or adhere to those ideas within them to enjoy life. A simple summation of the commandments is love God and love your neighbor – in this ‘life’ can find it’s enjoyment/fulness.

But there is a 3rd thing being alluded to here – God’s words are good – and participating in keeping the things God has talked about is good (or is your part in participating with God). There is only ‘One’ who is good – but he did allow those things to be written and remembered – so we could find our way to serving goodness and giving/getting more from life.

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