Matthew 19:17 Commentary - Abbott's Illustrated New TestamentVerse 17
Why callest thou me good? It is difficult to understand the grounds of this reproof, unless we suppose that there was something in the circumstances of the case not fully described in the narrative. The words would seem to be a very respectful and proper mode of addressing even a human prophet and teacher, of such singular benevolence of heart and life.
Matthew 19:21,22. We here encounter another difficulty in understanding this conversation between Jesus and the young man. Instead of explaining to him the spiritual nature of the moral law, that he might see that he had not really kept it, the Savior seems to acquiesce in his answer, and tacitly to admit his pretensions; and then proceeds to require of him a course of action, in regard to his property, which the Scriptures do not enjoin, and which, if adopted as a general rule of action, would not have a favorable effect on the welfare of society. The usual comments on this passage do not really meet these difficulties; and it is better to leave such difficulties unsolved, than to attempt to satisfy our minds with explanations which are forced and unnatural. If we were fully acquainted with all the circumstances, we should undoubtedly see that the Savior's directions were exactly adapted to the case. And though we cannot understand the exact moral bearing of the directions, in respect to the young man, the lesson which they convey to us, is perfectly clear; namely, that the service of God, and the salvation of the soul, must be the supreme end and aim of life, and that all other objects of interest or desire must yield to their claims.
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Abbott's Illustrated New Testament
The electronic edition of John S. C. Abbott and Jacob Abbott's The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Translated Out of the Original Greek, and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised; with Explanatory Notes has been produced from a copy of the printed text published by O. A. Browning and Company (Toledo, OH, 1878). The title on the spine of the book is Abbott's Illustrated New Testament, and on the half-title page, The Pictorial New Testament; with Notes; by Jacob and John S. C. Abbott.