Jesus and the rich young man

episode of the synoptic gospels

Jesus and the rich young man is an episode in the life of Jesus in the New Testament. It is the basis of many Christian views on poverty and wealth.


"If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me." (Matthew 19:21)
  • "Rabbi, what good thing can I do that I may live?" He (Jesus) said to him, "Man, fulfill the Law and the Prophets." He answered him, "I have done (so)." Jesus said, "Go, sell all that you have, and distribute to the poor; and come, follow me." But the rich man began to fidget [some copies read, "began to scratch his head"], for it did not please him. And the Lord said to him, "How can you say, 'I have fulfilled the Law and the Prophets', when it is written in the Law: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself', and many of your brothers, sons of Abraham, are covered with filth, dying of hunger, and your house is full of many good things, none of which goes out to them?" And he (Jesus) turned and said to Simon his disciple, who was sitting by him, "Simon son of John, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven."

Quotes about Jesus and the rich young man

  • The difference between ourselves and the rich young man is that he was not allowed to solace his regrets by saying: "Never mind what Jesus says, I can still hold on to my riches, but in a spirit of inner detachment. Despite my inadequacy I can take comfort in the thought that God has forgiven me my sins and can have fellowship with Christ in faith." But no, he went away sorrowful. Because he would not obey, he could not believe. In this the young man was quite honest. He went away from Jesus and indeed this honesty had more promise than any apparent communion with Jesus based on disobedience.

See also