We read in Luke 18 that a rich man/ruler came to Jesus asking, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus starts his answer declaring that none is good except God! This answer has fascinated me for a long time, particularly as Jesus then goes on to list the actions/good deeds that the Jews of the time would have deemed worthy of everlasting life i.e, respect for your parent, honesty, the diligent practice of religious ceremonies, etc.
The man declares that he had done all of these since childhood and the bible says that Jesus looked on this man and “loved him”. I believe that Jesus recognized in this man a true seeker who has realized that “good works” does not equal salvation and loved him for it. The man did everything right but realized that he did it for salvation’s sake. No matter how good the deed the motivation was a crab, it was shellfish.
Jesus then goes on and instructs him to sell everything he has and give it to the poor. Saddened, the man walks away because he was exceedingly rich.
Why? Was the giving away of his wealth the ultimate good deed that would earn his salvation? No, no,no! I believe that it was not a call to a “supreme good deed” but rather a call to shift sources. Jesus knew that the man, like the rest of us, did not need “good” deeds but to change his source from what he thought to be “good” to the only thing truly good, namely God.
Jesus calls on the man to relinquish his security i.e his wealth and good deeds and trust that God and who he is in God is enough. For Jesus, whether something was good or bad according to the morality of his day was meaningless. He knew that morality was determined by the group ego and as such not a way to salvation but a method of ensuring the survival of the false, egoic self.
No, Jesus judged according to the source. If it was rooted in the divine self it brought forth life and if it was not it brought forth death no matter how good it was from a moral point of view.