August 27, 2021
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me" (Matthew 19:21).
The word ‘perfect’ (teleios) means perfect or whole as God is perfect and whole. The young man testified that he was as perfect as he could be in keeping the Mosaic Law. Jesus was clear in His response, “One thing you lack” (Mark 10:21). In other words, “you are not as perfect as you think.” He then gave the man 3 things to do: (1) divest yourself of all your worldly goods, (2) enrich others with what you have, and (3) forsake everything to be My disciple.
Mosaic Law required 2 principal actions, (1) love the Lord God supremely, and (2) love others as you love yourself. These 2 principles of love are centered not on self and not on things, but on others - God and other people. If the man was really in sync with the Mosaic Law as he testified he was, he would be willing to give up his wealth to serve the Lord God and to minister to his neighbors. Jesus commanded him to do this as the ultimate test of his true character, and to show him that he had not kept the law as he believed, thus demonstrating to him that he needed true righteousness, not self-righteousness.
What did it mean for a person to be a disciple of Jesus in that day and time? Three things were required: (1) a person had to be invited by Jesus to be a disciple, (2) a person had to obey what the Lord commanded, and (3) a person was to follow the Lord’s example and live as He lived. A disciple, then, had to be a personal attendant in the Lord’s ministry; to go with Him from place and to do as He asked. It means the same thing today. Christians are called by the Lord Jesus Christ to salvation and discipleship. We are to obey what He has taught us. We are to live the Christ-life in the power of the Holy Spirit. This is the commission Jesus called us to fulfill.
(Matthew 28:18-20) And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Not everyone who came to Jesus became His disciple. The healed demoniac of the Gadarenes wanted to follow Jesus, but Jesus told him to go home and tell people what the Lord had done for him. This rich young man was given the opportunity to follow Jesus, but he refused because, for him, the cost was too high. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:22).
“Lord Jesus, thank You for the gifts of grace and faith that has brought salvation to me. Thank You for Your call upon my life, that I should be what You have called me to be, go where You have called me to go, and do what You have called me to do. Continue to teach me the ways of discipleship through Your Holy Spirit and Your Word. To Your praise and glory I ask, Amen.”