There is None Good, But God

There is None Good, But God

Only two men in the Bible are described as good men, Joseph of Arimathea and Barnabas. However, there is that account of the ruler who came to Jesus and asked Him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life” (Matt. 19:16)? The response of Jesus has troubled many Bible students, for Jesus seemingly rebuked him by saying there is only one who is good and that is God.

Before discussing Jesus’ response, take notice of this remarkable person. Luke described him as a ruler who was very rich (Luke 18:18, 23). He was a morally upright man who had kept the commandments since his youth. He had high regard for Jesus, for he ran to the Master and knelt before Him (Mark 10:17). Jesus saw something very special in this ruler for the Bible says that Jesus loved him (Mark 10:21). His greatest problem was that he loved his riches more than he loved serving God.

Why did Jesus say to this ruler, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17)? At first look, it seems strange that while the Bible calls other men good, Jesus’ words seem to indicate that Jesus would not let anyone call Him good? Was Jesus not a good man?

Look more carefully at what Jesus said. His words do not deny that Jesus was good. They were intended to focus the ruler on who Jesus was. He was a “good teacher,” but He was far more than this. Jesus was deity! He was Emmanuel, God with us. The ruler was not talking to a man like other teachers who might have answered some Bible questions. Jesus’ words affirm that He is God! He was asking the rich ruler if he knew that his question had been asked to the Son of God, to the Creator of the world! Jesus was with God in the beginning and He was God (John 1:1). He was the One through whom all things had been created (John 1:3). The answer given to the ruler was not some theological idea of a mortal, but was an answer from Deity!

We must remember that we are in the same position as this ruler every time we study the Bible. We come to His New Testament to find answers about our lives. We come to Him to find out about the church, and the answer from this Good Teacher is the only answer, for the Teacher is God. We come to Him to find out about moral issues, and the answers He gives are the answers of the only One who is good and that is God. This is true of every religious question which impacts our lives.

Those at the foot of Mt. Sinai heard the voice of God, and they knew that it was Deity who spoke to them. The ruler had to understand that he also was hearing the voice of God. This is true of us, for to hear Jesus is to hear Deity.

-Dan Jenkins


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