Good Teacher, Part 2

“Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’ So Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.’” Mark 10:17-18.

Having received the young ruler, see “Good Teacher, Part 1” posted on 4-7-21. Jesus begins to answer his question, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”

“You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ And he answered and said to Him, ‘Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth.’” Mark 10:19-20.

The first thing that comes to mind here in Jesus’ words is that He does not mention the first four commandments which are man in relation to God, whereas the latter six are man toward man.

You shall have no other gods before Me, you shall not commit idolatry (make no carved image), you shall not take God’s name in vain, and keep the Sabbath. Part of the reason He did this, I suspect, is that none of us keep them.

It is also of note that the Lord does not give them in strict order, one through ten as written in Exodus twenty.

Exodus has honor your father and mother first of these six; Jesus starts out with you shall not commit adultery, and He puts you shall not murder next, which is still out of order.

He then goes in order with, do not steal, or bear false witness, and instead of saying you shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife and so on He says do not defraud, which would come out of coveting something. Lastly, He says to honor your father and mother.

To recap: Exodus gives the last six commandments in the following order.
Honor your father and mother commandment 5.
You shall not murder, 6.
You shall not commit adultery, 7.
You shall not steal, 8.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor, 9.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, wife, manservant, maidservant, and so on, 10.

Jesus gives them in this order, with their original numerical order given from above:
Do not commit adultery, 7.
Do not murder, 6.
Do not steal, 8.
Do not bear false witness, 9.
Do not defraud (you shall not covet), 10.
And honor your father and your mother, 5.

Now, the quickest and easiest answer for this scrambling of the commandments is that it does not matter what order they are in, none is more important than the other.

Adultery and defrauding someone are equally sinful. As is murder and theft; they all put you in hell. There can be no argument here, this is the best explanation.

But what if the Lord, knowing this man’s heart, also knew of his secret sins and highlighted them when He recounted the commandments. Perhaps this man had committed adultery many times in his heart and had not realized that it was just the same as the real thing.

Perhaps murder too, was on his heart. Jumping down to “Do not defraud”; is it possible that he had defrauded someone without realizing that it was the same thing as “You shall not covet”?

Is it possible that Jesus had quoted the fifth commandment “Honor your father and your mother” last because this man really did honor his father and mother?

We know that this young man left grieved because he had many possessions, but there can be little question that he spent a lot of time pondering the Good Teacher, Jesus’ words afterward.

Do you suppose that the order of these commandments hit him like a ton of bricks later on? Interesting huh?

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28.

“For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10.

It occurs to me, I am too frightened to try to rank these commandments in my own life, even now.

The Christian can and does commit many of these sins in their heart without showing any signs outwardly. However, when we dwell on them, cling to them instead of confessing them to God; they affect us in our walk with Christ.

Whether its lust, anger, covetousness, or any of the others, they limit a comfortable walk with Jesus and slow down our progress in becoming like Him.

Thinking on these things, can you see the incredible power of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Those who accept Jesus as their savior are no longer under law, but under grace (God’s unmerited favor). We shall no longer be judged by the law which we are unable to keep, even in our hearts because we are under grace.

“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.’ But he was sad at this word, and went away grieved, for he had great possessions.” Mark 10:21-22.

The young man had said to Jesus, “Teacher, all these I have observed from my youth. Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” though some have tried to lessen the impact of this statement, Jesus really did look at him and loved him for God the Son is love.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [payment] for our sins.” 1 John 4:10.

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4:16.

“We love Him because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19.

He also loved him for his naïveté, how many of us have looked at a child and loved them all the more because of the simplicity of a gift they had given or something that they said.

However, the Lord’s reply shows the harshness of reality and was geared to show the young man where his heart was. The intent was to get the man to start thinking about his priorities.

Do I really love God more than my riches? Of course God lost the first round, but bear in mind that this young man did not just drop off the face of the planet when he walked away from Jesus there on the road.

There are some preachers who will take this lesson and tell the congregation that Jesus is against riches and that if you are rich you cannot serve God and mammon (riches), so you need to give it away or some such thing.

Jesus said this about riches.

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matthew 6:24.

Many rich men are destined for hell because they are in love with their riches. Many men destine themselves for hell because their whole focus is on getting rich.

Someone once asked an extremely rich man what it was he wanted now that he had it all, the answer was “More”. Anything that displaces God in our lives is an idol, first commandment, “you shall have no other gods before Me.”

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” 1 John 5:21.

Let us take some of these things and put them together to give us something to think about. Later on in Mark 12 a certain scribe asked the Lord, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

“Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’” Mark 12:29-31.

The entire law is wrapped up in these two commandments. If you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and all your strength, you will not break any of the first four commandments which concern God.

If you love your neighbor as yourself, you will not break any of the following six commandments which concerns man’s relationship with man. Now, go out and do this.

You are still sitting there aren’t you? Yes, well so am I! When these things sink into the heart one can only put their hands to their mouth and whisper, “I am undone, I am undone, who can save me?”

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:21-28.

It is possible to be rich without it becoming an idol, but not easy. The Lord put His finger on this rich young man’s problem; his riches had become an idol that separated him from God.

This is further seen by the fact that he was unwilling to sell whatever he had and give to the poor. By this he showed that he did not love his neighbor as himself.

By being unwilling to give these things up for God it showed that he did not love the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength.

In other words this rich young man’s assessment of himself was incorrect; he neither kept the Law nor did he obey the very first commandment to have no other gods before him.

Jesus’ words were meant to jackhammer this man loose from his worldly mindset, which may have happened over time when he finally accepted Christ as his savior and realized that riches are to be used not just for our own benefit but for others whom God puts in our path.

Riches, like any talent you may have are to be used to the glory of God, not hoarded or misused.

I do not remember where I read this but it is important, write it down and keep it where you and others can see it.

“God gave us people to love and things to use. Instead we love things and use people.”

One can always see where their priorities lie when they compare them with these words.

Good Teacher, Part 2 taken from posted on 10-16-14, updated on 4-10-21.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *