Our Greatest Need: Luke 18:18–23
Have you ever been in a situation where you had everything going right for you? A situation where you are “firing on all cylinders.” You think you are doing everything right and you think you have everything you need.
When that happens, is it easy to think you can do everything on your own. Does God become a second thought? Does it all become too easy to trust in yourself? Is it easy to forget that you are a sinner in need of God’s grace?
A Man Who Seems to Have All He Needs
Jesus finished teaching on the kingdom of God and said, “Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:17). Then enters a man who, as the Gospel of Mark tells us, runs up to and kneels before Jesus. It seems that this man had everything going for him. The Gospel of Matthew tells us he was young, and Mark tells us he had great wealth. Many believe he could have been powerful and affluent. Luke tells us he was a ruler. It is possible he could have been the ruler of a synagogue or a member of the Sanhedrin. We even see that this man was one who held his head high because he thought he kept all the commandments.
This rich, young ruler, who thought he had everything he needed and seemed to have everything going for him, will soon find out that he lacked the most important thing his heart needed.
As he kneels, he calls Jesus “good teacher.” Jesus responds and says that the only one who is good is God alone — so in essence, Jesus is pointing to the fact that He is God. The young, rich ruler then asks Jesus a question about what he must do to inherit eternal life. This man, who seems to have it all, asks Jesus about eternal life.
The One Who Has All We Need
Jesus’ response would show this man that the only way to true eternal life was through total heart surrender. Confidence in wealth (this man had much) or depending on what you can do (this man said he kept all the commandments) would not save him.
Eternal life could only come through trusting in God’s plan and by turning from your sins, not trusting in yourself or your abilities — and turning to the perfect sinless Savior — coming to Jesus with nothing, in total dependence on Him. Jesus shows the man that the only way is through total heart surrender.
This man is not willing to surrender anything. He leaves Jesus and is saddened because he trusted in who he was and what he possessed. Pastor Alistair Begg says, “[This man’s] way to life — to eternal life, that he was asking about — was blocked by his unwillingness to surrender his possessions and to follow Jesus.”
Check Your Heart
When it seems like you have everything going right for you and life is “firing on all cylinders,” is it easy to forget God? Is it easy to forget your greatest need is salvation?
We must remember that we can do nothing apart from the grace of God. We can’t keep the commandments perfectly, Christ did that for us. Our own abilities and possessions can’t get us what we need. Christ died to give us what we ultimately needed — forgiveness of sins and a true relationship with the One true God restored.
We need Jesus. We needed salvation that is found in Christ alone. When you are tempted to trust in yourself and you remember you don’t have it all together on your own, remember the day of your salvation. Remember the grace of God. Go back to the cross, run to Jesus, kneel before Him, and remember our greatest need is salvation found in Christ alone.
Dan Conrades has been married to his wife, Chris, for 22 years and they have four awesome teenagers. Dan pastors Crosspoint Baptist Church in Richmond, Indiana, loves teaching about missions, going on mission trips, and enjoys board games, reading, and sports.