Listen to the post in audio
Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

And behold, a man came to him and said, “Good master, what should I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 He said to him, “Why you call me good? There is no one good but One, who that is GOD: But if you want to enter Life, keep the Commandments.” 18 And he said, “Which ones?” Jesus answered, “Thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, 19 honor thy father and mother, love thy neighbor as thyself.”
(Matthew 19:16-19 – ASH translation)

VerseEnglishGreektransliteration
16And, behold, one came and said unto him, “Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς προσελθὼν εἶπεν αὐτῷ Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ τί ἀγαθὸν ποιήσω ἵνα ἔχω ζωὴν αἰώνιονkai  idou  eis  proselthōn  autō  eipen·  didaskale,  ti  agathon  poiēsō  ina  schō  zōēn  aiōnion;
17And he said unto him, “Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός εἰ δὲ θέλεις εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὴν ζωὴν τηρεῖ τὰς ἐντολάςlegei  autō·  poias;  o  de  iēsous  ephē·  to  ou  phoneuseis,  ou  moicheuseis,  ou  klepseis,  ou  pseudomarturēseis,
18He saith unto him, “Which?” Jesus said, “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,”λέγει αὐτῷ Ποίας ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Οὐ φονεύσεις Οὐ μοιχεύσεις Οὐ κλέψεις Οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσειςlegei  autō·  poias;  o  de  iēsous  ephē·  to  ou  phoneuseis,  ou  moicheuseis,  ou  klepseis,  ou  pseudomarturēseis,
19“Honor thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα καὶ Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόνtima  ton  patera  kai  tēn  mētera,  kai  agapēseis  ton  plēsion  sou  ōs  seauton. 

Commentary

The passage in Matthew 19:16-19 is an extremely profound and important part of the New Testament.
When this believer, this man turns to Rabbi (teacher) Jesus seeking guidance on how to obtain eternal life, an exchange of thoughts begins that is as simple as it is profound. An exchange of valuable insights into the teachings of the Messiah and the nature of righteousness in the believer’s theology.

In verse 16, the man’s question, “What good must I do to have eternal life?” reflects the common belief of those with faith that righteousness and eternal life can be earned through earthly behavior, and not by birth, lineage, inheritance. This perspective is based on the Jewish Law and tradition, which emphasized adherence to the Commandments as the path to earthly and otherworldly righteousness and happiness.

Verse 17: Unveiling True Goodness

Verse 17 of Matthew offers a fascinating perspective on the figure of Jesus and his teaching, yet not all translations comrplete, such as the prominent NIV (New International Version):

16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” 17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
English NIV (Matthew 19:16-17)

Comparing the two translations, significant differences emerge that affect our understanding of the text.
In the first translation, Jesus seems to emphasize his distinction from GOD the Most High, not as part of the same essence (Trinity), but as a son of the living GOD. This is in line with what is stated in Psalm 82 and with the conception that every true believer should have of himself.

In contrast, in the second translation, Jesus’ answer appears more cryptic, a less direct formulation than the question asked, since a believer would naturally turn to a spiritual teacher to understand what is good.

Therefore, the first translation seems to make more sense, especially in relation to Jesus’ answer. It makes sense for a believer to ask a master of law and spirituality which actions are good and which are not. Jesus’ answer, which refers goodness back to GOD and distinguishes himself from this absolute goodness, emphasizes not only his humility but also a specific theological understanding that separates his human nature from the absolute divinity of GOD. This approach makes the discourse less cryptic and more accessible, facilitating understanding of the message for believers and readers of the text.

Continuation to commentary

In verses 18 and 19 of Matthew, Jesus explicitly mentions specific commandments: the prohibitions against murder, adultery, theft and bearing false witness, along with affirmative directives to honor one’s parents and love one’s neighbor. These commandments, rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethical tradition, establish a moral framework that underscores the Messiah’s teachings. It is essential to recognize that these instructions are not limited to legalistic adherence to rules, but signify a deeper, intrinsic understanding of goodness and righteousness that comes from GOD and fosters a holistic approach to ethical living, as exemplified by Jesus himself.

The inclusion in the passage of the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” traditionally linked to legal contexts, can be interpreted broadly as the admonition against lying, the lying that like an “invasive weed” haunts the order in our “garden” of life. This interpretation aligns with the general value of truth and integrity in human interactions. In modern society, the repercussions of dishonesty extend far beyond legal boundaries, affecting personal, professional and social relationships. Lying undermines trust, the cornerstone of all human bonds, leading to potential ruptures in relationships, emotional distress and a culture of deception. In the professional sphere, unethical practices resulting from dishonesty can have serious consequences, including financial losses, legal problems, and reputational damage.

At the societal level, the proliferation of lies, especially through the media and politics, manipulates public opinion, influences political outcomes and shapes social policies, contributing to misinformation, erosion of trust in institutions and increased polarization. The digital age further complicates the issue, with the rapid spread of disinformation through online platforms making it increasingly difficult to distinguish truth from falsehood.

From a theological perspective, lying is not simply an ethical violation, but a moral failing that contravenes a divine commandment. It destroys the harmony and balance that truthfulness gives to human interactions and society. Therefore, the directive to avoid false witness transcends being a mere legal or religious rule; it is a fundamental principle that is part of maintaining trust, integrity and authenticity in our personal lives and in society at large.

Other languages
Main Topics
ASH’S NEWSLETTER
Quick Random Curiosity

Atziluth

Atziluth or Atzilut (also Olam Atsiluth, עוֹלָם אֲצִילוּת, literally “the... Read more →