This account of Jesus’ encounter with a man seeking eternal life appears in all three Synoptic Gospels-Matthew,Mark and Luke, Matthew tells us that the man was young (Matt 19:22); Mark reveals that he was rich (Mark 10:22); and Luke informs us that he was a ruler (Lk 18:18). Thus, the man is known as the rich young ruler. This young man called Jesus “Good Master” and bowed before Him. This shows that he was respectful toward Jesus and recognized Him as a teacher of some authority. But Jesus gently corrected him for calling Him “good.” “There is non good but one,” He replied,” that is, God” (Mk 10:18).

Why did Jesus resist this name? Perhaps He saw it as meaningless flattery. Or, it may have been His way of testing the young ruler’s commitment to God the Father, who held the keys to eternal life-the very thing the man was seeking. He wanting to know what he could do to have eternal life. Jesus made it clear that it is a gift that God bestows on those who follow His commands.

The message of this account is that flattery gets us nowhere with God. He grants His grace to those who commit to follow Him in absolute obedience. The rich he was to following the Lord. This kept him from finding the eternal life that he sought.