January 11, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
A commandment keeper broke the first commandment. You see a young man came to Jesus asking a wonderful question, perhaps the question of questions: …what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? The Lord’s immediate answer: And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Keep the commandments. If a person could or would simply do this, they would have eternal life. Be perfect, be good. Then the man further inquired Which? Which one commandment should I keep, after all he had already indicated that this thing of eternal life is based on one good thing? In response, the Savior listed six of the ten commandments, the six that pertain to one human’s relationships to all other humans. To which the young man declared: All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus did not disagree. He did however add another which is summed up in Deuteronomy 6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
To the young man’s declaration that he had kept all the commandments, Jesus responded: If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. After which the Bible sadly reports, But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. The young man broke the first command. To fully explain this next statement would take time and space that this format does not allow, but simply put, when the man called Jesus “Good Master” and Jesus responded Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: He pointed out to the man that He, Jesus, was God. For this man to not follow Him meant he was not following God thereby breaking the first commandment. The young man needed a Savior, yet he did not understand that, for he thought he was perfect.
No one is saved by accepting the invitation to “Follow Me.” They are saved through the gospel, confession of sin and repentance toward God. This young man did not do that, neither would (or could) he follow Jesus in denying self, for he was full of self. A good man no doubt, but not a perfect man. A prerequisite to following the Messiah is to accept Him as such.
William T. Howe, Ph.D.