11 November 2019

Matthew 19:16-22

Then someone came to him and said, ‘Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?' (v. 16)

Psalm: Psalm 102:1-11


This story is not about doing, even though this is how the initial question and Jesus’ answer are framed. Nor is it even about being rich or poor. It is about what is in the heart and how this is worked out in life and the world. This is very frequent in the Gospel encounters with Jesus – people pose one question and are left with quite another. This is where realisation and reality manifest in personal experience. Jesus only gives him a straight answer initially because it is not the actual answer; he is waiting for the underlying response which reveals more about the questioner.

It is a very emotional scene, not just a question and answer session. In Mark’s account the man runs up to Jesus (Matthew is in less of a hurry than Mark) very excited, as those who are distracted often are, but not connected with himself. Mark also maintains the emotional connection when he tell us that Jesus looks at the man tenderly before delivering his difficult verdict – the action, or attitude, that you need is inside you – knowing what the result would be.


To Ponder:

  •  What are you doing to have eternal life?
  • How do you use the differing accounts in the Gospels to explore a fuller picture?


Bible notes author

Julian Bond

Julian works for the Connexional Team as the grants team leader. Previous to that he was the director of the Christian Muslim Forum, which is built on friendship between a group of Christians and Muslims, showing how faith is a catalyst for good relationships and welcomes the 'other'.

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