But, what Jesus did was expose this man as an idolater. The rich young ruler had not followed all the commandments. This man’s first priority was his wealth and the position it gave him in the community. It looks like the man thought wealth and position made him who he was. The account says that the man turned away from Jesus and was sad. The Greek word used here is perilypos, which means “very sorrowful, greatly grieved.” The idea from this word is that someone is sorrowful “all around.” It’s an all-encompassing type of sadness.
In the parallel accounts from Matthew and Mark, the idea is that the young man was grieving and that he grew gloomy and cloudy. The Great Physician, Jesus Christ, had asked the young man to get rid of those things that would prevent his total devotion to God and “follow Him.” Jesus wanted the man to place his faith in Him and not wealth, to give Jesus the first priority in his life, and not possessions. Jesus, being God, understood and knew what was in his heart. But, the young man went away sad.
Jesus had said in the Sermon on the Mount,
o “No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:24, HCSB).
Jesus had said that the greatest commandment was to love God with everything that you are. But this young man was unwilling to do that.
The call to follow Jesus always comes with a price. The call to this rich man to give away his possessions was a specific and tailored command. I don’t know that He gives that command to everyone. I do know that the call to follow Jesus always comes with a decision.
In this case, the rich young ruler did not take the right decision and went away sad.
Next Week: A man goes to the doctor…