The Question

"Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, and knelt before Him, and asked Him, 'Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?'" (Mark 10:17)

Some entertain that if given an opportunity to ask a celebrity or historical figure one question, "What would be that question?" Some even propose, if they had an opportunity to question God, "What would they ask Him?"

This young man had that opportunity. He came running to the Messiah, and asked Him the question. It was undoubtedly, the question of all the ages. "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

The Messiah responded, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but One, God." Viewing all things through the eyeglass that the LORD is One is vital to growing in wisdom and understanding. The Shema: "Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One." (Deuteronomy 6:4) continues to be a daily proclamation throughout the Jewish communities worldwide. Like an invisible shield, the Shema has repelled the evil schemes threatening to annihilate Israel down through the centuries. Unchanging over time, past, present and future, the Eternal One is the same; He is One, yesterday, today and forever. Supreme over all, He brings everything under His One rule and sovereignty. The Solitary Dispenser of mercy and truth, He alone is good. Any goodness that exists between individuals comes from the One who alone is good.

The Messiah continued, "You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" (Mark 10:19)

Some modern thinkers propose that the commandments of God are no longer applicable, but the Messiah does not support that view. On the contrary, the Messiah is clearly upholding the commandments. Moreover, in another record of the same account, the Master told the young man, "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments." (Matthew 19:17)

Moses informed the people of Israel, prior to their entering the Promised Land, that in order to have life they must keep the commandments.

"Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgements which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you.

"You shall not add to the word which I commanded you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

. . . "You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the LORD your God is giving you for all time." (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, and 40)

Since the beginning, life has always been the benefit of keeping His commandments and His statutes. Messiah Yeshua was teaching the same.

The young man responded, "Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth." (Mark 10:20) Referring to his bar mitzvah -- that ceremony when at the age of thirteen a Jewish male accepts the responsibility of the yoke of the kingdom -- the young man declared that he had kept "all these" since that time.

We are in the presence of a very rare individual. Not only did he know the Torah, but he had diligently kept the commandments. Since his early teenage years, the young man had been faithful to the God of Israel. A very special individual indeed!

From the account we also learn that the young man was very wealthy "he had great possessions" (Mark 10:22).

Consider the young man further. He is young; he is not experienced in years; he knows the Torah; he has kept the Torah since his early teens; he has wealth and status; he is highly regarded in the community, perhaps he is a leader. Of all who were present, only he ran to the Master. Not concerned with what others may have thought or would say, the young man knelt before the Master. "Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, and knelt before Him . . . " (Mark 10:17) Then came the question every individual of every generation should ask. "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" This young man was a very rare individual, indeed!

"Then Yeshua, looking at him, loved him . . . " The Master loved him because the young man loved the commandments of God. Compelled by his love for the Torah, the young man ran to the Master. As the Living Word, the Messiah was the ultimate representation of the Torah of God. The young man was drawn to Him because he had kept the Torah from his youth. He ran to the Messiah because only He could bring understanding to the question that cried out from his depths. He knelt before the Master because as the Living Word; only He had the words of Life; only He could answer the question "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?".

"Then Yeshua, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come take up the cross, and follow Me." (Mark 10:21)

There was only one thing lacking. He was a very rare individual!

The Master told the young man to "Go your way . . . " This was an affirmation of what he had been doing. Keeping the commandments was the correct path, remain on it, don't change course, don't go to the left or the right, remain faithful, there is only one thing to do . . .

" . . . sell whatever you have and give to the poor . . . " Be an imitator of your Father Who is heaven. Be a giver. " . . . and you will have treasure in heaven . . . " the assets and rewards of heaven, and the world to come are of eternal worth and therefore more valuable than earthly possessions. " . . . and come take up the cross, and follow Me." The Messiah is the Way, the Truth and the Life. Follow Him, and eternal life you will receive.

"But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions." (Mark 10:22)

Ordinarily, it is understood that the young man went away sad because he did not want to sell his possessions. However, in view of this young man being an extraordinary individual, a question could be asked, "What would make him sad?" To an ordinary person "sell whatever you have and give to the poor" is extraordinary, but this young man was extraordinary. So what would make him sad?

If he wasn't prepared for the "doing" why ask the question. "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"

Since keeping the commandments from his youth, this young man would have been familiar with giving through the various tithes and offerings associated with the House of the LORD, the Temple in Jerusalem. He would have participated in the process, and would have seen firsthand how those in need were provided for in accordance with keeping the commandments of God. The poor, the fatherless, the widow, the needy were all blessed through the giving of their neighbours and out from the abundance of the Jewish community at large.

Perhaps what made the young man sad was that he had missed what should have been obvious. He had studied it, lived it, saw it in action daily, but somehow it had escaped him. For a young Jewish man who had been keeping the commandments since his youth, the realization that such an important aspect had escaped his understanding would have clothed him with sadness. It is like when one expects that he has been walking in the brightness of the noonday sun, but suddenly realizes, with disappointment, that it has only been the glow from a single candle. Yet, he was now instructed and informed, he could "Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come take up the cross, and follow Me."

May there be many who follow the Master in these important last days.