The Rich Young Man

We’ve been going through the Bible examining the doctrine of the Trinity. Up until this point, we have largely been giving prooftexts for the Trinity. Tonight, we’re going to look at a text that is often used as an argument against the Trinity. The account shows up in the other gospels, but it does show up in the Markan account and it is found in Mark 10. We will only take the relevant verses from the passage.

17As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

 18“Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone.

At this point, the Arian will rise up and say that Jesus is here saying he is not God. He makes a clear distinction between him and God and he proclaims that no one is good but God alone. How could Jesus be God when he says no one is good but God alone?

In fact, the Jehovah’s Witnesses publication, “Should You Believe In The Trinity?” has on page 17 this:

Jesus further showed that he was a separate being from God by saying: “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.” (Mark 19:18 JB) So Jesus was saying that no one is as good as God is, not even Jesus himself. God is good in a way that separates him from Jesus.

I hope some astute readers have already figured out the problem.

Can someone point to a place in the passage where Jesus denies being good? Can someone point to a passage where Jesus denies being God? The problem is that you will not find either in any of those passages. The Witnesses are claiming something is being said in the passage that frankly isn’t.

Let’s ask the first question to the Witnesses. Is Jesus good? If yes, then what do you think follows when we are told that no one is good but God alone? If not, then why should I trust Jesus for my salvation when he’s not even good? 

Now they might say he’s not as good as God. Okay. What goodness is he lacking? Let’s see what Hebrews 7 says about Jesus.

26Such a high priest meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

Sounds pretty good to me. Jesus is said to be holy.

What is really going on is that Jesus is testing the claims of the rich young man. He is asking him why he’s calling him good. He’s not saying he shouldn’t. He’s wanting to know if the rich young man is ready for that level of commitment. Will he treat the words of Jesus the same as he has treated the commandments of God?

Sadly, the story indicates that he does not.

As we go through Scripture, as we come across other problem passages, we will deal with them. This one certainly does not qualify and it should instead enlighten us more as to who Jesus is.

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