555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

288. What Did Jesus Mean by Saying "Why Callest Thou Me Good"?

The true meaning of the much discussed passage (Mark 10:17) quoted is thus explained by very good authority. Professor David Smith, who writes: " 'Master' or 'Teacher' was the regular appellation of a Jewish Rabbi, and it was accounted so honorable that it always stood alone without qualification. It was a deliberate departure from the established usage, an intentional improvement on the common style, when the young ruler addressed our Lord as 'Good Master.' It showed that he had recognized him as more than a teacher; and when our Lord fastened upon the epithet, his purpose was to elicit what his questioner really meant He said in effect: 'You have gone a long way in calling me "good." That epithet belongs only to God. You have recognized me as more than a teacher: are you prepared to go farther, and recognize me as divine?* Hence it appears that our Lord's question is not a repudiation of the attribute of deity. On the contrary, it is an assertion of his title to it. It is a gracious attempt to bring home to that anxious inquirer, in conscious realization, the truth which he had dimly perceived and was groping for."