There is little doubt that this wealthy ruler heard Jesus speak on many occasions and was intrigued with his message. The more he heard the hungrier he became. He soon realized that Jesus had something he lacked. But he wanted so badly what Jesus had that he was willing to give some of what he possessed to get what Jesus had. He could not hold the hunger in any longer and at last blurted out, "Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"
Mark tells us that Jesus, beholding this young man, loved him. The Lord saw wonderful possibilities in that young man if only he could succeed in getting him to pay the price to lay hold of life. Because Jesus loved this young man he wanted to bring him to a wholeness and health of a higher level.
The great Physician began to operate on this young man. With His sterilized scalpel and steady hand He began to cut away the cancer, which was eating at the man's soul, in order to give him "soul" health.
The further the physician probed the more painful the operation until the young man felt he could not endure any more and he got up from the operating table and the scripture says that "He went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions."
There are some who believe that it is impossible to be sorrowful if you have possessions. Many think that when possessions come in the front door that sorrow flies out of the back window. Our story of the rich young ruler demonstrates that riches do not give you a guarantee from grief.
The Great Physician was trying to bring this young man out of the self-centered control that had dominated him in the past and bring him into a glad yielding to the Divine Doctor's control. But it was not to be. He turned his back to Jesus and walked away. There is nothing more astonishing than to turn your back to Jesus for mere temporary riches, or pleasure, or position in life.
The surgical answer to the man's question was given by Jesus when He said, "One thing you lack, sell all that you have and give it to the poor and come and follow me."
In gist, Jesus was not only offering him freedom from his temporal attachments, he was offering him an opportunity to come and be one of his disciples.
Christ died for the rich and the poor but it seems that in either case there may be misplaced values that have to be surgically removed.
Proverbs 3: 5,6 Reads: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy path.”
Shakespeare writes of the Duke who speaks to the condemned Claudio:
"If thou art rich, thou'rt poor,
For like an ass, whose back withe ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee.”
References: Luke 18:18 Mk. 10:17 Matt. 19:16. The Holy Bible
Shakespeare- Measure for Measure 3.1.25
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