October 31 (Daily reading: Matthew 19; Mark 10) Yesterday we read about the Pharisee who prayed in the temple, confident in his self-imposed righteousness. The lesson that Jesus taught on humility and true righteousness was repeated in His conversation with a rich young man. This man, like the Pharisee, had placed his confidence in the wrong source. For the Pharisee, it was his self-righteousness; for the young man, it was his wealth. They were both wrong in their relationship with God.
Mark 10 gives the rich man’s story. He came to Jesus sincerely, calling Him “Good teacher.” He asked the right question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (v. 17). Jesus turned the conversation so that the young man would understand his own heart. He reminded him of the commandments, to which the man replied with confidence, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” (v. 20). He shared to a degree the Pharisee’s pride in his own accomplishments. When Jesus told him to sell his possessions and give his wealth to the poor, He touched on the man’s problem: his heart was full of pride in his riches. This was ultimately a barrier between him and God. “He went away sad, because he had great wealth” (v. 22). Jesus referred to the barrier of pride in riches when He said, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” (v.23). To answer the disciples’ question about who could be saved, Jesus replied: “All things are possible with God” (v. 27).
People over the ages have tried multiple ways of becoming right with God. Here is the bottom line: there is only one source of righteousness. “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:22). Jesus alone is worthy of our confidence!
– Al Gary