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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Two Great Questions

As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good — except God alone.” (Mark 10:17,18, NIV)

We know this man as the rich young ruler. Matthew, Mark and Luke all identify him as having great wealth. Matthew tells us he was young (19:20) and Luke that he was a ruler (18:18).

He came at a time when Jesus had “started on His way.” What way was that?

It was the way to the cross. Jesus had begun the journey out of Galilee. Shortly we find Him in Jericho (Mark 10:46) and then Jerusalem (11:1). The fact that Jesus was headed toward the cross textures His later response to this man (10:21), since Jesus will only ask him to do what He himself is doing — laying down His life.

We can learn from this man’s approach to Jesus.

We should run to Him. We should not delay or hold back. We should not be casual in our approach. We should not run from Him.

We should fall on our knees. We should reverence Him, bowing before Him as an inferior does to a superior. Falling on our knees is a mark of humility. It is the act of a supplicant.

We are not big shots around the Lord. This man had title and wealth, and he commanded others — but in Jesus’ presence he was on his knees.

We should respect Jesus for who He is in character. While it becomes apparent that this man does not understand the meaning of the term “good” when he addresses Jesus, nevertheless his very use of the word indicates he thought well of Jesus. In his eyes, Jesus was of good reputation.

We should ask the big questions. There is no more important question than how to obtain eternal life. And Jesus alone has the answer to that question.

Jesus, however, began His answer with a question of His own: “Why do you call me good? No one is good — except God alone.”

What’s happening here? Is Jesus denying His divinity?

No! He engages in a teaching moment. The wealthy young man had not thought through his designation of Jesus as good. Jesus makes him stop and think, Do you really know what it means to be “good”?

For Jesus, goodness meant the absence of any impurity or sin. No human can match that. As Paul later said, “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10).

Only God is good. Jesus later clearly affirmed His identity when asked by the high priest, “‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’ ‘I am,’ said Jesus” (Mark 14:61,62).

The very first stirrings of opposition to Jesus came when He forgave the sins of the paralytic. His opposition understood very clearly that in forgiving sins Jesus was asserting a right that belonged only to God, for they said, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (2:7).

Jesus knew the young man did not consider Him to be divine. However, Jesus knows His own identity. He knows that He is good, and that He alone is good: that through the cross His goodness will become a blanket under which we all can crawl. We are covered by His righteousness.

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, You have the answer to all my questions. I call You good because I know who You are: the Son of the living God.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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