Q.

In Luke 18, why did Jesus say to the rich young ruler that only the Father in Heaven is good, when He (Jesus) also is God and, therefore, is good?

A.
In Luke 18:18 and 19 read,

And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is Good.

You are correct, Jesus is God. As God, Jesus knew the rich young ruler’s thoughts and heart attitudes perfectly. The ruler didn’t acknowledge Jesus as God. Rather, by addressing Jesus as “Good Master,” he implied that Jesus was merely a good teacher, or rabbi.

So Jesus gave what amounted to a rebuke. Jesus said, in effect, that if He was not God but was merely a good teacher, He really was not good.

We have people today who deny important doctrines of the Bible, including the Virgin Birth, the deity and bodily resurrection of Christ, and the inerrancy of Scripture. Such people are like the rich young ruler. They are generally willing to call Jesus a good person, a good teacher, an important figure in world history, and so forth. But that is not enough. If they, like the young ruler, do not believe that Jesus is God, it is contradictory for them to say that Jesus is good, because only God is good. If Jesus is “good” in this sense, He has to be God, not just a “good master.”

Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to nolson@garbc.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.

Reprinted from the Baptist Bulletin (March 1995).
© 1995 Regular Baptist Press. All rights reserved.
Used by permission.