I have been reading Mark 10:13-22 in the New Testament. It struck me that the rich young ruler in verse 17 was not like a little child when he came to Jesus. He was complicated, thinking he could give something to God that would earn him heaven. Children come with empty hands... They expect to receive, because parents give.
The story of the rich young ruler follows Mark 9:15 where Jesus says that in order to participate in the Kingdom of God (God’s spiritual kingdom) You need to receive the kingdom as a little child. This rich young ruler is the illustration of not receiving the kingdom as a little child.
Jesus will have nothing to do with works-based salvation. Children cannot give God anything. This man is focused on works. He even thinks that Jesus is “in” because of his own goodness. No man is ever accepted by God on the basis of their own goodness. Not even Jesus, and he, of all people could have been accepted on the basis of his own goodness.
The rich young ruler has been good, and has been comfortable with his own goodness for a long time. He trusts his goodness, rather than trusts God. Works, behavior, is what he trusted.
Jesus trusted his Father, not his own goodness. Faith is the only grounds for people to be accepted by God, even if that person is Jesus. Hebrews 11:6 makes this very plain, “Without faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Jesus trusted his Father.
The rich young ruler is uncomfortable in his goodness; so much so that he comes running to Jesus. I don't think that he was uncomfortable in his own goodness (which was pretty good) until Jesus came into his world.
It was not Jesus' goodness that made him uncomfortable. Neither was it Jesus pointing out his little sins. (Jesus didn't do that) What made him uncomfortable enough to come to Jesus was Jesus' faith (trust in his Father). Jesus life was just plain good, it didn't become good, or strive to be good. It just was... even when it cost him a lot. The rich young ruler saw this. It made him feel inadequate.
JESUS' FAITH IS SO REAL THAT IT MAKES OUR WORKS SEEM SO INSUFFICIENT.
And Jesus, after the young man comes to him, not before, points out to him, his covetousness, his selfishness.
The young man is asked to give up all that he depends upon for life and is asked to trust God with his life. He knows that this is what Jesus is asking and he cannot do it.
He knows that it is right, and since he cannot do it, he goes away sorrowing.
WHAT ARE YOU DEPENDING UPON FOR LIFE THAT YOU CANNOT GIVE UP IN ORDER TO TRUST GOD?