When Jesus interacted with the people of His day, many of them had a hidden agenda of one kind or another. The religious leaders were constantly playing their game of “Gotcha”. The Samaritan woman wanted to keep her life hidden, but Christ was able to get to the heart of the matter.
Consider the interaction between Jesus and the Rich Young Ruler in the tenth chapter of Mark. Here was a man who appeared to have it all together and was just checking in the Good Teacher to justify himself, but something was hidden.
And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?And Jesus said to him, Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother. 20 And he said to him, Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth. And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me. Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
Notice that Jesus quoted the commands relating to human relationships…Do not murder Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.
Why? Because Christ knew the deeper problem. The hidden idol of the heart. Mark writes that Jesus looked at the man and loved him. Jesus had compassion on the man who would walk away because he unable to keep the first commandment “to have no other gods before Me.”
Jesus’ command to “sell all that you have and give to the poor” revealed the content of the man’s heart. His great possessions had gained the highest position in his life. In the end, he loved the security and status of wealth and rejected the God he claimed to serve.
The young man in this encounter clenched his fist and tried to hang on to the stuff that will not last. How about us?