One of the most well-known questions asked to Jesus is, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” This question was posed by a man who approached Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 10, verse 17. This man is commonly referred to as the rich young ruler.
The Rich Young Ruler
The Gospel of Mark describes the man who approached Jesus as a rich young ruler. This description implies that he was wealthy, young, and held some sort of position of authority.
The passage also indicates that this man had followed the commandments and had lived a moral life. However, he still felt like something was missing.
Mark 10:17-18 (NIV)
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.
The rich young ruler’s question to Jesus was straightforward – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” He knew that something was missing in his life despite being wealthy and living a moral lifestyle. He recognized that there was more to life than material possessions and obeying commandments.
Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler’s question was also straightforward but challenging for the man. Jesus told him that he needed to sell all his possessions and give the money to the poor. This response shocked and saddened the rich young ruler because he had many possessions.
Mark 10:21-22 (NIV)
Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said.
“Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
The lesson from this passage is clear: we cannot inherit eternal life through our own efforts or possessions. Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler shows that true discipleship requires a complete surrender of everything we have to Christ.
- We must put our trust in Jesus alone for salvation.
- We must be willing to give up everything for him if necessary.
- We must be willing to follow him wherever he leads us.
The question asked by the rich young ruler is one that many people still ask today – “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The answer from Jesus is clear – surrender everything to him.
This may be difficult and challenging, but it is necessary for true discipleship. Let us follow Jesus with all our hearts and trust in him alone for salvation.