What does Matthew 19:20 mean?
ESV: The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?”
NIV: All these I have kept,' the young man said. 'What do I still lack?'
NASB: The young man *said to Him, 'All these I have kept; what am I still lacking?'
CSB: "I have kept all these," the young man told him. "What do I still lack? "
NLT: I’ve obeyed all these commandments,' the young man replied. 'What else must I do?'
KJV: The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
NKJV: The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”
Verse Commentary:
The rich, young ruler (Mathew 19:16–19) does not yet understand that he is not good enough to enter the kingdom of heaven and have eternal life. Perhaps, though, he suspects it. He has come asking Jesus for a "good deed" he must do. Jesus has told the man to keep the commandments of Moses and listed five of them. The young man now answers that he has already kept each of these and asks what he still lacks.

The man seems to sense he is still missing something despite following Judaism as closely as he has. He wants Jesus to tell him what key action—or work, or deed—he can do to be guaranteed a place in heaven.

Jesus is about to show the man that he has not kept even these five commands, however. Specifically, the man has not loved his neighbor as he loves himself. He only thinks that he has. The man's idea of human goodness is too small. He is self-deluded.

This question feeds Jesus' ultimate conclusion in the next few verses. That lesson is exactly what Jesus was setting up with His initial response to this man (Matthew 19:17). Salvation comes to those who admit their need and are willing to follow God, regardless of what He asks of them. Those who come to Jesus for salvation by God's grace do so understanding that they are not truly good and need Jesus' goodness instead of their own. Those who insist on their own merits, or won't follow when God's will is unpleasant, are not going to be saved (Matthew 19:21–22).
Verse Context:
Matthew 19:16–30 describes Jesus' conversation with a wealthy young man who asks how to attain eternal life. Jesus begins by establishing a standard of goodness, suggesting the man keep all the commandments. When the man says he has done this, Jesus suggests he give up his wealth to follow Him. The man's sad reaction proves he's unwilling to make God the real priority of his life. Using this as an example, Jesus warns that wealth can make it difficult for someone to accept salvation.
Chapter Summary:
Pharisees ask Jesus if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause. Jesus reminds them marriage was designed by God at creation. Divorce, then, is lawful only in the case of sexual immorality. A rich young man asks Jesus what good thing he must do to have eternal life. Jesus insists only God is good. He challenges the man's sincerity by asking him to give all his wealth to the poor and follow Him. The man's refusal demonstrates how easy it is to prefer wealth to dependence on God. In response to the disciples' question, Jesus says salvation is impossible with men but not with God.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 19 follows Jesus' teachings about temptation and forgiveness in chapter 18. This passage begins with Jesus leaving behind Galilee and heading toward Jerusalem the long way around. Jesus tells the Pharisees that divorce is legal only in cases of sexual immorality. Jesus blesses little children and then answers a rich young man who asks how to have eternal life. The man leaves sad after Jesus challenges him to give his money to the poor and follow Him. Jesus says salvation is impossible with men, but not with God. Chapter 20 contains additional parables and examples, and is the last before Jesus arrives in Jerusalem in the days just prior to His crucifixion.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/24/2024 9:43:35 PM
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