February 11, 2022
“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’”
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“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before Him, and asked, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call Me good?’ Jesus asked him. ‘No one is good but One – God.’” Mark 10:17-18
At the end of Mark chapter 8, we read about Peter’s confession that Jesus is Messiah. The backdrop for that conversation was a place called Caesarea Philippi. Caesarea Philippi was a place of pagan worship where idols were carved into the cliff face, similar to Mt. Rushmore. Three rivers merge there and form a waterfall that feeds the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River, eventually ending in the Dead Sea. Caesarea Philippi was considered so evil among the Jews that it was known as “the gates of Hell.”
When Jesus asked His disciples who people said He was, He was standing in front of this cliff face. The disciples answered, “Some say you are John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, one of the prophets.”
In Mark 10, a man known in Scripture as “the rich young ruler” calls Jesus “Good Teacher.” It is an honest evaluation from a young man who is impressed with Jesus’ teaching but stops short of confessing Him as Messiah. It reminds us of Jesus’ conversation with “the teacher of Israel,” Nicodemus, in John 3. Nicodemus begins that conversation “We know that You are a teacher….”
In the Hebrew translations, this “rich young ruler” in Mark 10 called Jesus a good “rabbi.” This title is a step-up from those who only considered Jesus to be on the level of a scribe (advanced student). The young man actually considered Jesus to be a rabbi…one who had authority.
When the young man added “good” to the rabbinic title, this intrigued Jesus and demanded clarification. Jesus was essentially saying, “If you are confessing that I am the ‘God Rabbi,’ you’ve got it!” This man was close to the truth, yet so far away.
Today, there are still many opinions about who Jesus is/was. Sadly, not much has changed in 2000 years. Some say He had a demon; some say He was a liar; others a “good teacher,” or perhaps a prophet.
The real question is: Who do YOU say Jesus is? Messiah? Then right you are! The GOOD NEWS of the Gospel is that He has fulfilled all the works of the Torah (Law) so that we may inherit eternal life, by His Grace, when we place our faith in Him. But apart from receiving salvation (which is paid for entirely with the blood of Messiah), following Jesus isn’t easy. For many people, following Jesus requires more than they are willing to give up. Be strong and take courage, that you may faithfully follow Him wherever and however He leads…trusting in His goodness, because of His “God-ness.”