When a man asks Jesus, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life,” he is showing proper respect for Jesus by calling him good.
Jesus, however, is quick to assert that only God is truly good.
If ever anyone deserved the label of “good,” it was Jesus. But instead he offers this accolade up to God his Father as an affirmation of God’s character.
Then Jesus reminds the man of the Ten Commandments.
The man asserts he has kept them all since he was a boy; he is effectively saying, “I’ve been good.” He seems to miss Jesus’ teaching that only God is good.
But merely being good is not enough. Jesus tells him to sell all he has and give away the proceeds. This is easy when we have little, but harder when we have a lot; the man has much. The idea of giving it all away distresses him and he leaves.
Though it might be unwise to turn this story into a rule, for this man, at least, being good is not good enough; being generous is what’s required.
Read more about the book of Luke in That You May Know: A 40-Day Devotional Exploring the Life of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.