Jesus was the greatest teacher the world has ever known. No one ever taught as He did. People were drawn to Jesus because “He was teaching them as having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matthew 7:29). Last week we saw a group of people walk away from Christ. On another occasion a rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked the Lord an important question. He did not like the answer so he too walked away from Jesus. Most of the rulers asked Jesus questions in order to trap Him, however this young man seemed to ask a sincere question. The young ruler showed his interest in spiritual things when he asked, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He demonstrated his maturity and righteousness by keeping the commandments that Jesus recited from his youth (Mark 10:19-20).
Although this young man was genuine and displayed a good number of characteristics, it was still not enough to save him. When Jesus told him to go and sell his possessions and give to the poor, the young ruler “went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property” (Mark 10:22). None of his good characteristics were enough to save him when he would not obey the Lord. To the world today, this man would be considered a “good man,” yet he did not meet the requirements for eternal life. Consider what this rich young ruler walked away from.
He walked away from the Person, Jesus Christ.
This man had been drawn to Jesus to ask a question, but when he heard the answer he ultimately turned his back on the Son of God. Although many believe that if Jesus were on the earth today he would be accepted, we see that Christ and his words are rejected everyday by the world. As the crowds were leaving Jesus, He asked His disciples if they would leave Him too. Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
He walked away from knowledge.
This young man asked the right question. He went to the right source, but he walked away from the only answer that could give him eternal life. This man was like those who look to the bible for the answer and fail to obey it. “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).
The truth of the Bible is ineffective and unprofitable for those who refuse to be doers of the word.
He walked away from the love of Christ.
Jesus looked on this young man and had a love for him. He showed love to the young man by telling him the truth about eternal life, but the man walked away from the Lord’s love. “But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Lord has demonstrated immeasurable love towards all men by dying on the cross for all of us, yet many turn away from His love. If anyone is lost, it will not be for lack of love from Jesus, but rather it will be for lack of love for Him. The Lord said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
He walked away from the promise of eternal life.
The Lord told this man what he must do to inherit eternal life, but the man loved his earthly wealth and possessions more than the promise of eternal life. He was afraid to let go of his earthly wealth, and it cost him his life for eternity.
Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). You may amass a huge fortune while on this earth, but it will not compare to the eternal wealth that is waiting in heaven.
Have you walked away from Jesus Christ?