The many miracles Jesus did, and the many things Jesus taught were very important – for many people believed upon Him, becoming His followers. However, we can understand that not all who saw and heard believed. Jesus explained how one must come to Him – not with an educated mind, challenging the things of God (as the religious leaders continually did). After teaching some of the people, children were brought to Jesus. The disciples tried to keep the children from Jesus. However, Jesus was displeased. He called for the children to come to Him. Jesus then explained to the people how to receive the kingdom of God (receive means “to accept an offer deliberately and readily”). Understand the kingdom of God by the following: When the Pharisees asked Jesus when it should come, read His reply. “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation” (Luke 17:20). Not with observation means, “you cannot see it with human eyes.” He went on to say. “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). Within you means “it is located in your heart and affections; not external.” That is one reason we refer to being saved as “asking Jesus into your heart.” You cannot see it with your eyes. Jesus wanted the people to understand this. To children, things are simpler, less convoluted. The gospel message is very simple – one must only believe – just as a child. In other words, simply believe and receive without question.
“And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him …” (Mark 10:17a). The placement of this event with this one that comes running to Jesus is interesting. It follows the recording of Jesus explaining that one must come to His kingdom as a child. Keep that thought in mind as we look at this “rich young ruler.” He is called a “young man” in Matthew’s accounting (see Matthew 19:16-22) and a “ruler” in Luke’s accounting (see Luke 18:18-27). He is often called The Rich Young Ruler.
He asked Jesus, “Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17b). Read the events. “18. And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19. Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21. Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:18-22).
In this event, the first thing we notice is that the young ruler thought he had to “do” something to inherit eternal life (see Mark 10:17). He had already obeyed God’s Word (the Law), but Jesus told him what was lacking (see Mark 10:20). His faith was in his earthly possessions – not in Jesus. Jesus wanted His disciples to understand the difference. One cannot do anything to inherit eternal life, but believe in Jesus.
“23. And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24. And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27. And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:23-27). See that Jesus called them “children.” He was talking to His disciples – those who believed upon Him. Yet in that explanation, one can almost sense that Jesus wanted them to remember that one must come to Him as a child – not with anything they can bring. One must have faith just trusting and believing in Jesus.
When Peter acknowledged that they had given their all (see Mark 10:28), Jesus explained that they would be rewarded in heaven. While they lived on the earth, man may not see Jesus’ followers as important, but in heaven, God will reward them according to their faithfulness to Him. The Rich Young Ruler chose unwisely, while Jesus’ disciples chose wisely. For one must come to Jesus, simply with the heart and mind of a child, just believing in Jesus. One has to believe in the heart – not actually having to see the “kingdom of God” with the eyes. Then one must follow Jesus.
Have you come to Jesus, simply with the heart as a child in faith, just believing in Jesus?