None “good” but God?

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Hey, thanks again for sending in questions related to our recent sermons. This last week, we covered the passage in Mark, which is referred to in other Gospels as the rich young ruler. Mark does not call him young, but he does call him rich. And he asks the same question as he does in the other Gospel accounts, which is good. Teacher, what is it that I must do to inherit eternal life?

And Jesus says, why do you call me good? There’s none good but God alone. And so the question is, why would Jesus say this? There is none good but God alone? Is Jesus saying that none of us are good at all?

We’re just all worms with no goodness in us whatsoever, that we’re totally evil and corrupt? And the answer is, he’s probably not saying that, because that same word for good is used elsewhere throughout the Gospels. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Or the parable of the soils, the word of God goes into the good soil. And so there are references to good.

Or Jesus says, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will God in heaven give good gifts to you? There is goodness in us, but there is something that all of us need to admit that is humbling. And if we are vulnerable and transparent, self aware enough, all of us know which is none of us are good all the way through, all the way to the bottom. None of us.

All of us have a mess inside of us. All of us have evil inside of us. In fact, when Jesus says, you who know how to give good gifts to your children, he doesn’t only say that. He says, you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children. And so that is a reality in all of us.

If you dug deep enough into any of our hearts, you would find something really wicked and twisted. Anytime a scandal breaks, or anytime we find out something about one of our heroes from history. And it’s disturbing. And it is disturbing. Of course, the person shouldn’t have done whatever it was the person did.

But the truth is, if you dug into any of our pasts thorough enough, or really any of our presenTs, any of our desires, any of the things that are in our hearts that we don’t share with anybody else, you would find things that are not good. And that is up and running in every one of our hearts. And Jesus is calling attention to that. But he’s not only calling attention to that, as we said in the sermon, he’s pushing this guy to understand that he’s really God. And so the question is, why do you call me good?

I think Jesus is leading the guy to be able to say, hey, Jesus, I have followed you. Really? If I did all the background research on you, if I really dug into your heart, if I really went to the bottom of who you are, you know what I would still find? Goodness. That there is really no evil in Jesus whatsoever.

There is no wickedness. There is no mess like there is in any of our hearts. And Jesus is like, hey, if you have really looked down far enough into me and all you have seen is goodness, then what does that tell you, guy? What does that tell you, rich young ruler? It means that I’m the one.

I’m the Holy one. I am God himself, come into flesh. In me there is light and no darkness at all. And Jesus is pointing the guy to that to get him to see, hey, I really am God. Of course, the end of the story is Jesus substitutes places with us that he takes what we deserve for all of our wickedness and mess, and he gives us what he deserves, all of his goodness and light on the cross so that we can be seen as he is seen by the Father, completely good and holy and righteous.

And that’s what we have through faith in Christ. So thanks for sending in the question. May we rejoice in that Jesus is good and that he gave us his goodness.