Print this Page

What kind of ruler is this?

A certain ruler asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18: 18-34)
Good question. And a good person from whom to seek a definitive answer – Jesus Christ. It’s around AD 33 and Jesus is about to enter Jerusalem for his final week before his crucifixion and death at Passover time.

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.” 

Is Jesus “good” – and therefore, as he claimed all along, the Son of God?

“You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honour your father and mother.’”    “All these I have kept since I was a boy,” he said. 

Jesus didn’t list all of the Ten Commandments given to Moses, the ancestor of this ruler. He missed out those relating to a person’s relationship with the LORD God – a relationship of heartfelt love and fellowship. And he missed out ‘you shall not covet’. I wonder if the ruler noticed the omissions.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God. Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 

What Jesus asked of the ruler was merely the heart change which would bring about the keeping by him of the ‘missing’ Ten Commandments.

Those who heard this asked, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” 

Another good question – this time from those who were listening to it all. Richard Syvret agrees with them that this ‘one thing’ which the ruler lacked is impossible for him, Sinner Syvret, to achieve. Without a massive change deep within himself.

Peter said to him, “We have left all we had to follow you!”    “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said to them, “no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life.” 

One of Jesus’ closest followers, Peter, feels that something important needs to be clarified - for him and for others like him. His question is whether those who do, in fact, ‘sell everything they have and give to the poor and come and follow Jesus’ – whether those (like Peter himself) will lose out by doing so. Good Jesus gives a good answer.

Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” 

Jesus now wishes to indicate the depth of the change required in a human being. Within days he will follow through. Just like him. with this by personally suffering terribly and being put to death – for and on behalf of others. 

He will not merely give all he has to the poor. He will die in the place of those who now hate him – those who will respond when they see that his love for them in action. 

That love of his – for them – will make ‘what is impossible with human beings’ actually ‘possible with God’. That will massively change them deep inside and they will become ‘suffering servants’ of others – just like him. ‘Good’.

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. 

Ah, yes. That fits today as well. We just don’t understand his overall message, do we?

Sinner Syvret

Email this newsletter to a friend
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Friend`s name
Friend`s email address *
Your name
Your email address *

Send comment
*All mandatory fields must be filled in

Your name *
Your email address *
Your comment *