Matthew 19:16-22 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
God has commanded us, as his children, to love Him with the totality of our being. As well, God has commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We cannot love our neighbor without first receiving the love of God into our hearts; without the Lord we have no capacity to exemplify the love required. We want people to extend us mercy when we make mistakes. We want people to forgive us when we sin against them. We want people to express compassion and empathy when we are hurt or wounded. We want to be offered understanding without judgement. So, when Jesus says,”Love your neighbor as you love yourself,” he is saying everything we want for ourselves we should be willing to give to our neighbors.
In our passage today, the rich man comes to Jesus to have a religious problem solved; how to obtain eternal life. In other words, the man asks Jesus how to be saved. Jesus knows all things and he knows the heart of this man is hindered by his desire for accumulating earthly wealth. He has the resources to help his neighbor but has no desire to do so. Thus, even though he says he has fulfilled the commandments, he has not. Jesus offers a saving word to the rich man; he gives the man an assignment. But, the man does not like the answer or Word he receives. Jesus is the Anointed One and when he speaks into our lives, we must listen and obey. He alone can break the chains of the things holding us back from the promises of God.
16 And behold, there came a man up to Him, saying, Teacher, what excellent and perfectly and essentially good deed must I do to possess eternal life?
17 And He said to him, Why do you ask Me about the perfectly and essentially good? There is only One Who is good [perfectly and essentially]—God. If you would enter into the Life, you must continually keep the commandments.
18 He said to Him, What [a]sort of commandments? [Or, which ones?] And Jesus answered, You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness,
19 Honor your father and your mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.
20 The young man said, I have observed all these from my youth; what still do I lack?
21 Jesus answered him, If you would be perfect [that is, [b]have that spiritual maturity which accompanies self-sacrificing character], go and sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, [c]be My disciple [side with My party and follow Me].
22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad (grieved and in much distress), for he had great possessions.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving me the love I need to love my neighbor in a righteous way. You deserve the glory. Holy Spirit, help me rise to each challenge as I love my neighbor. In Jesus’ name. Amen.