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Luke 18:19

Posted 09/07/21, by Dan Vis

There are many times Jesus said something unexpected. Where it's clear He was trying to arrest their attention, interject some concept, get them thinking. I try to note these instances as you can always be sure there's something important going on.

An example of this is found in Luke 18:19And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.. A certain ruler had just approached Jesus, called Him "Good Master" and asked how to be sure he would inherit eternal life. Before answering his actual question, Jesus interjected these words:

Luke 18:19
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.

It seems extraneous. Unnecessary. The dialog goes a different direction and there's no more discussion of this point. They never come back to it. But Jesus said it for a reason.

It seems to me Jesus was trying to communicate at least a couple things.

First, none of us are really good. We all have a sin problem. Two verses later, this ruler proclaims he had kept the whole law from his youth up. Clearly, he didn't see the true condition of his heart. So Jesus challenges that before the man even speaks.

Second, there is a bit of implied logic. If Jesus is good, and only God is good, then Jesus must be... In other words, Jesus was trying to call this man's attention to His true identity. That He was not just another good teacher. There was something unique, unrivaled, transcendent about Jesus--and that identity was far more important than a specific theology of salvation.

In some ways, this is the real answer to the ruler's question about how to inherit eternal life. It involves seeing the true condition of our heart, and the exalted identity of Jesus. No one will be saved by outward conformity to the law, or even selling all their goods. It's a heart issue. It's our sinful self coming face to face His majestic holiness.

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Posted by Dan Vis on 09/13/21
Posted by Qing Ling on 09/13/21
ooooo that's a GREAT connection, Dan!!! nice one! :) a good neural connection for Proverbs 7:2Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. which happens to be one of my memory verses. Thanks!
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/12/21
Your comment Qing, reminds me of Proverbs 7:2Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye., which in the KJV talks about keeping the law as the "apple" of our eye. The Hebrew word used here refers to the pupil, or more specifically, "the little man of the eye" (Strongs). It's what you see when you are so close to a person you can see your own self reflected in the pupil of that person. Such an incredible concept, isn't it?
Posted by Qing Ling on 09/10/21
It involves seeing the true condition of our heart, and the exalted identity of Jesus.

Amen. Seeing ourselves inside the story of the man-God Jesus Christ.

John 17:3And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/07/21
That's a good point Everton. Jesus said that He came to bring a sword, and some of the things He said clearly confront us. This was a bit more subtle than some of His statements, but it was no doubt still quite convicting...
Posted by Everton Guthrie on 09/07/21
Jesus' statement was quite frank. Those types of statements tend to disturb us. It draws the lines and separates wrong from right. I believe we are going to have statements like that which will lead us to see our souls clearly. Like the rich young ruler we will surrender to God or separate from his people soon.
Lord help us to acknowledge your sovereignty and our weaknesses and learn to let go and let God.
Posted by Dan Vis on 09/07/21
Thanks everyone (Lydia, Kelly), glad these little posts have been a blessing. Really looking forward to continuing them!

It's worth noting Shirley, that Jesus probably wasn't trying to divert attention away from Himself and to the Father, so much as trying to draw attention to His own divinity. While Jesus shared our physical nature, His spiritual nature was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;). And in fact, in John 10:14I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine., Jesus actually referred to Himself as the good Shepherd. This suggests to me we should see Him as the one man (alone) who is truly good. The one man (alone) who was truly God in human form...

Interesting thoughts indeed! Thanks everyone.
Posted by Lydia Gilbert-McClain on 09/07/21
Thanks for these insights- deep!
Posted by Shirley Anna on 09/07/21
This really got me thinking... Jesus took our sinful nature, therefore it was only valid to point our minds, as the young ruler, to God as truly GOOD!

I love this new blog feature
Posted by Kelly on 09/07/21
Wonderful insight Pr Dan. Thanks for sharing!

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