There were many things going right for the rich young man in the narrative today. He was rich, he was young (Matthew’s gospel tell us so) and he was a man! That last word may sound sexist but in Palestine, that’s what went in your favour. Women would not even find a mention. And yet while everything sounds right and the narration seems to begin with pomp and joy, it fizzles out ending in a sad departure.

The rich young ruler (Luke’s gospel) has all things working for him. The problem perhaps was the superficiality in his desire to seek the truth.  He wanted some ‘cool advice’ from this new rabbi on the block. A rabbi, everyone seemed to be talking about.  His address, ‘good master’ is a bit unprecedented in the Bible which indicates that this greeting was effusive and obsequious. Jesus spots the fake praise right away.

‘Get on with it’ would be Jesus’ modern day reply. The flattery was evident and Jesus wanted to cut to the chase.  There seems to be   a sense of arrogance in this young ruler who thought that he could buy his way to heaven.  You see, the problem is not rich people per se; Jesus is condemning the arrogance behind a rich person who relies on his wealth only. ‘What must I DO’, is the young rulers question; almost suggesting that his wealth could buy him a place in heaven if not that he had the power. Jesus does not respond with a ‘to do list’ to go to heaven. Jesus simply sates what the young man ought to have done.

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