And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

COMMENTARY

And, behold, one came and said unto him, what shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

Here is a story of a young man who is on the cusp of entering into a great and epic life. He is seeking the greatest life of them all, in fact: eternal life. And he has apparently already been seeking it for years, given his statement of faithfully following all of the mosaic commandments. Yet for all this he feels that something is missing. He is basically good, but he is not extraordinary. He knows there is something better out there for him and he sincerely wants to find it.

Jesus said, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

So Jesus details the one thing he has left to do: give up the last of the world and become a disciple. Both the end of his old life and the beginning of his new in the same moment. After all, how did he hope to have a new life while still holding onto the threads of the old one?
Sadly, this was a task that the ruler was not willing to face. And he went away sorrowful, still the same man as before, or perhaps even worse for having seen his greatness and turned from it.

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