This history is reported by Mark, Mar_10:17-23 and by Luke, Luk_18:18-25. Mark saith, When he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life? Luke saith, A certain ruler asked him. Our Lord was now in his way from Galilee to Judea and to Jerusalem. There cometh a person, a ruler, whether of some of the synagogues, or in some place of civil magistracy, the Scripture saith not. He runs, he kneels to him, (paying him at least a civil homage, as to his superior), he salutes him with the ordinary title they gave to their teachers, Master, Good Master; he propounds a grave question to him, what he should do that he might get to heaven; but yet he doth not propound the question in those terms, but,
What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? It appeareth by his respect showed to Christ at his coming, and by the question proposed, and by his going away sorrowful when our Saviour’s answer did not satisfy him, that he did not come upon any captious design to entrap our Saviour, but out of a desire to learn; but yet it appeareth plainly that he was a Pharisee, or a disciple of the Pharisees; and thought his life was in his own hands, that he had a power in himself to do some good thing by which he might merit eternal life, or upon the doing of which he might at least obtain everlasting life, though not as a strict reward for his work, without any consideration of a Messias. He grants an eternal state, he declares his desire of an eternal happiness, he declares his readiness to do some good thing that he might obtain it.