In today’s Gospel, Jesus asks, why do you call me good (Mark 10:18)? In the Gospel reading, we hear the story of the rich young man who seeks information from Jesus about what is required to enter Heaven. The rich young man refers to Jesus as “Good Teacher.” It is an interesting, brief exchange between the rich young man and Jesus. The reference to the goodness of Jesus might easily be overlooked, when reading the passage, simply because Jesus gives a quick retort. “No one is good but God alone” (Mark 10:18). He then moves on to the gist of the story, that has nothing to do with His goodness. Yet, I find it to be a very intriguing question.
The rich young man knew of Jesus’s work. That is why he approached Jesus in the first place. He must have had some personal experience to draw upon, and for that, chose to call Jesus good. With two thousand years of history, this question might be easier for us to answer in the 21st century, as hindsight is 20/20. We have the luxury of studying documented Scripture, filled with New Testament passages oozing with Jesus’ goodness. Eyewitness testimony, as documented within the New Testament, espouses Jesus’ ability to heal, forgive and love. With Jesus being the epitome of virtue, He is good.
Yet, how would you respond to this question, if Jesus stood before you today?
Why Do You Call Me Good?
I call Jesus good, because He is God, the Supreme Good. He is sinless and perfect. As part of the Blessed Trinity, He creates only good things. He defines goodness. It is God who determines what is morally right and wrong. If one were to read a few more verses from Mark 10, we would read Jesus’ response to the rich young man as to what it takes to get into Heaven. Jesus refers to the Ten Commandments, which is God’s law for man, outlining what to do and not do; goodness versus evil. It is with adherence to the Ten Commandments, along with placing our faith and trust in God to provide, that we gain the treasure of Heaven – the ultimate goodness – God Himself.
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