If I were to poll everyone here today with one question, “Do you believe that Jesus is your Master?” Most of you would reply, “Yes.” But is he really your Master? He may indeed be your Lord by virtue of his salvation. But, is he really your Master?
When the young ruler addressed Jesus, he called him, “Good Master.” But we will see in their discourse that this young man was never going to follow what Jesus wanted him to do. You can tell by the young man’s questions that he never fully intended to follow Jesus. He certainly wanted what Jesus was offering, “eternal life.” But he wasn’t willing to obtain it by following Jesus, the Good Master.
You undoubtedly want the benefits that Jesus offers, eternal life, abundant life, heaven, etc. But are you willing to obtain these things by following him as your Master? By studying the young ruler’s questions you may find that Jesus isn’t your Master, either. You want what you can obtain through him, but you want it on your terms, not his. If so, he is not your Master.
What good thing shall I do? – Matt 19:16 – at first this may seem like a very honest and sincere question. But when you consider all that follows, you realize that this young man’s question is a qualifying question. I’ll do it as long as it’s good. And who do you suppose is going to make that determination? Of course, the young man is the one who will decide what is “good.” When Jesus told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor, the young man thought, “This ain’t good.” Likewise, if he’s not your Master, you will do what you think is good and you won’t do what you think is “bad.” If you don’t think what the Lord wants you do is good, then you’re not going to do it. People want to feel good about themselves and they want others to think that what they’re doing is good. Jesus wants you to do what he thinks is good. And often you and the rest of the world don’t think what he wants you to do is good. It was good for Joseph to be sold into slavery and to spend time in prison. These things prepared him to rule the country. It was good for Shadrach, Meshech, and Abednego to be in the fiery furnace. By their refusal to bow they turned a king to the Lord. And they were saved and promoted.
Which? – Matt 19:18 – when Jesus told the young ruler to keep the commandments, he absolutely addressed the heart of this young man’s necessity. The first commandment is to love the Lord with all thine heart, soul, and mind. This young man loved his possessions more than he loved God. And the second commandment is to love thy neighbor as thyself. And this young man loved himself and not the poor. He was covetous. He didn’t want to do all the commandments. He wanted to do the ones he wanted to do. That’s why he qualified Jesus instructions by asking which commandments he should keep. He kept the ones that he wanted to keep. And if Jesus is not your Master, you’re the same way. You know that you are doing some of the things God wants you to do. And you’re proud of your accomplishments. However, as your Master, he is concerned about that which you are not doing.
What lack I yet? – Matt 19:20 – this man knew that he didn’t have what he wanted, which was eternal life. He thought that there was surely something he could do on his own terms to obtain it. Oddly, the thing he was hanging onto is the very thing that was keeping him from what he wanted. Jesus knew that and told him to let go. But this man couldn’t sell out. His possessions were his Master. He trusted his riches, therefore, he could not trust the Lord. You know that you don’t have all that your Master wants for you. However, you also know that to obtain it, you have to let go of something you’re hanging onto. And if Jesus is not your Master, you aren’t willing to let go. He’s not your Master. That thing you’re hanging onto is your Master. Will you let go? Perhaps your religion is your Master. Perhaps there’s a person in your life who is your Master. Perhaps your possessions and your reputation are your Master.
Conclusion: when you question God, when you question his clear instructions in the Bible, you are not following your Master. You are negotiating favorable terms with him. You’re the master, in that case. If he is to be your Master, then you simply do what he says, when he says to do it, the way he wants you to do it. Ultimately, you’ll both have what you both really want. That’s the way it is with a Good Master.