MUSLIMS who deny the divinity of the Lord Jesus sometimes use Mark 10:18 to prove that Christ denied that He was God.
The verse reads:
“Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.”
The context of the verse is about a man who knelt before the Lord Jesus and then says to the Christ: "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17)
Muslims see the response of the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:18 as a rebuke or a contradiction to what the man said. To them, the Lord was saying, “I am not God, so don’t call me good.”
But did the Lord Jesus really rebuke the man for calling Him “Good”?
A. CHRISTIAN RESPONSE
THE words of the Lord Jesus in Mark 10:18 were neither a rebuke nor a contradiction to the man addressing Him with a term pertaining only to God.
A rebuke would have sounded like “DO NOT call me good. Only God is good” or “I am not good. Only God is good” or “Only God is good. I am not God.”
The Lord did not make such a clear, undeniable rebuke. What He did was ASK A QUESTION.
Often, questions are asked to raise clarifications or to challenge others to prove that they are sure of what they are saying or talking about.
When the Lord Jesus told the man “Why do you call me good? Only God is good”, He was telling the man, “You called me good. Only God is good. Are you acknowledging that I am God?”
The answer of the man to the question whether he was acknowledging the divinity of the Lord Jesus was important, especially if we read the answer of the Lord Jesus to his question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
In Mark 10:19, the Lord said, “You know the commandments: 'You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.'"
Those were commandments given by God Himself to Moses. (Exodus 20:1-17) And to the mind of the man, he already fulfilled those commandments (Mark 10:20), thus he was already entitled to eternal life.
But then, the Lord Jesus did not stop there. He continued: “Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me."
Mark 10:22 says that when the man heard those words, “he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.”
“But why?” we might ask. Why should the man grieve at what the Lord Jesus said and especially because those were not part of the original commandments? One might even argue that since those were only the words of Jesus, it would not really matter? What was important was the man had obeyed the commandments of God.
Could the words of a “teacher”or a prophet or a ”servant” of God overrule the very commandments of God? Of course not!
The man was shocked and grieved because he did not see the Lord Jesus only as a simple “teacher” or “prophet,”but as the “Good Teacher.” “Good” meaning God as the Lord Jesus had pointed out.
The man believed that the Lord Jesus was God and that He had the authority to give “additional”commandments or to demand more on top of the commandments that He had already given.
So, when the Lord Jesus gave the “additional” commandment for the man to “go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor” (Mark 10:21), the man became sad because it was GOD who was telling him to do it.
Therefore, Mark 10:18 is not a denial of the divinity of the Lord Jesus. On the contrary, it is an affirmation of His Godhood.
Muslims, in their desire to disprove that the Lord Jesus is God, are seeing the opposite of what things really are.