Mark 10:17-31

Talks for Growing Christians

The Rich Young Ruler Comes to Jesus

Mark 10:17-31

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Lesson Number 43

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. No one is good.
  2. No one earns salvation.

Practical Application

  1. Aren't you glad you're not rich?
  2. You can't make a better investment than to serve Christ.


  1. "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Mark 10:25) What does this mean?
  2. Jesus said that those who leave their family for His sake and the gospel's will receive a hundred fold (Mark 10:29-30). Does this mean that a man should divorce his wife to go out preaching?
  3. "No one is good." Is this for real?
  4. What do you recall about the man who came running to Jesus?
  5. What did he ask Jesus? Why wasn't keeping the law good enough to save him? Why did he go away sorrowful?
  6. Why is it hard for those who are rich to enter the kingdom of God? Why is it hard for Christians to be wealthy?


  1. There are several interpretations: a) the needle is a narrow mountain pass between rocks, b) a small door located within the city gate, called the eye of the needle, which a laden camel would have difficulty getting through, c) a physician's needle, like Dr. Luke used (Luke 18:25). In any case, it would be impossible for a camel to pass through any of them.
  2. Absolutely not. It means that when you are committed to the Lord Jesus for service, your priorities change. The Lord becomes number one, and all else comes under His Lordship.
  3. The Lord did not deny His deity, but He showed the ruler that he had a faulty concept of what was "good." In reference to God's standard of what is good, we all fall short (Romans 3:10-12, 23). Relative to one another, we may be good or bad, but in God's perfect standard, no one is good except the Lord Jesus. Salvation in Christ alone makes one righteous.
  4. He was sincere, unlike the Pharisees. He was enthusiastic, reverent, respectable, and he kept the law. He was rich, young and a ruler.
  5. "What shall I do that I may inherit life?" The Lord had to show him that he really hadn't kept the law. Jesus pointed out to the young ruler that God was not number one in his life. He told him to sell whatever he had and to give it to the poor, and he had many possessions. He was confronted with a decision - either Christ was number one, or he was.
  6. Material possessions can be an obstacle to entering the kingdom of God. We are confronted with the same decision as the young ruler. Just as riches keep someone from becoming a Christian, so they can keep a Christian from a full commitment to Christ (see 1 Timothy 6:9). Riches can be used for the Lord, but many Christians have difficultly handling them.


  1. Is Christ really number one in your life?
  2. What is the best investment you can make?


  1. If there are any riches (material possessions or other obsessions keeping you from a full commitment to Christ, shed them, so He is number one.

Key Verses

  • "What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17).
  • "Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said, 'Sell whatever you have...and you will have treasure in heaven..take up your cross and follow Me." (Mark 10:21)

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