What Happened to the Rich Young Ruler?

Jul 25, 2016 9600

rich young rulerAt this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealthMark 10:22.

That’s the last we hear in the Bible about the man who is sometimes popularly called “the rich young ruler.” This man was eminent among his people because of his wealth. It had all started in such a promising way. This young man was so excited that he literally ran up to Jesus and fell on his knees before him, asking Jesus what he had to do to inherit eternal life. But he refused to give up his wealth for the sake of following Jesus, and the verse above tells you the end of the story in the Bible.

But of course, it was not the end of the story for this young man. Have you ever wondered what happened to the rich young ruler?

The apostles made many sacrifices for Jesus, particularly after his death and resurrection. They, who took the eternal gospel to all the world at the cost of their own lives, shall inherit eternal life. They, who were looked upon as being the last shall be the first in the coming kingdom.

The rich young ruler, on the other hand, kept his money for himself but lost every cent of it when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem (between AD. 68-70). While he was very rich he wasn’t able to buy even a moldy crust of bread to alleviate his starvation during the prolonged siege. Every Jew who wasn’t slaughtered at that time was sold as a slave.

He who had been the first, became the last.

What is standing in your way of following Jesus more closely today? Are you prepared to give it up? Ask the Lord Jesus to show you what it is, and surrender it completely to him.

– Eliezer Gonzalez and Ritchie Way

Ryan McKenna

Jun 17, 2021

A Trappist recluse, under sudden, unbidden inspiration, wrote that this rich young man was St. Dismas, the "repentent theif" who died next to Christ and to whom Christ said, "This day you will be with my in Paradise." The full story is published in "The Lost Writings of Ronald Knox" which is currently published by Catholic answers. Ronald Knox, incidentally, completed one of the first attempts to translate a more "readable" modern English version of the Bible that was still true to the original languages (esp. the Vulgate, completed by St Jerome who had access to source texts since lost). The story goes that the rich young man had inherited his family fortune by winning an inheritance dispute against his brother. After going away sad, he lost everything and became a criminal through a series of rationalizations based on his misfortune. During a robbery gone wrong, he killed someone with his partner in crime and was sentenced to be crucified. On the cross, upon hearing the mockery and attention Christ was getting from the crowd, he at some point recognized him as the wise teacher he had encountered and remembered him saying how hard it will be for a rich man to get to heaven. As we know he protested his partner's mockery of Christ and asked to be remembered by Christ in His kingdom, and received Christ's assurance that this very day he would be IN his kingdom with Him. Of course, no one is required to believe this story or that it was inspired, but if you consider the story temporarily as possibly a true account and meditate upon it, there is something beautiful about it and perhaps even more believable than that he went on as he was, a rich, pious man who followed the law. If a women with enough sense just to touch the outer garment of Christ received what her heart desired without even a word, then what would this man, who desired perhaps the greatest spiritual good, to be perfect, have received from his encounter with Christ? It is difficult for me to imagine someone coming to Christ with a desire even higher than physical healing to go away empty and sad and that to be the end of it. I would, of course, encourage you to read the source for yourself and consider what you thing about it, but this question is a very natural one to wonder what happened to him and this story provides a very satisfactory account.


Shawna Baxter

Oct 22, 2019

Wow... early this morning during prayer time, I was pondering the “cost” of Americans in life as we know it. We, in America are that “rich man” even if we deem ourselves as “poor.” We waste so much in “self” and hardly consider to poor at the cost of “self”.... the REAL cost if He were to ask us to give it all and truly “follow” Him with ALL the heart, mind and soul”...... unbeknowing the “rich” man in the end will loose it all whether by the grave or by America’s fate.


Eliezer Gonzalez

Feb 18, 2019

True, we have no Scriptural evidence, but we have clear historical evidence. The rich ruling class of Israel was wiped out in AD 70, and their wealth taken by the Romans. We may speculate within the boundary of that historical fact.


Moroni ;)

Feb 18, 2019

We cannot speculate any of that since there is no scriptural evidence to support that notion. Truth is that we do not know if he did or did not follow Christ's advice. What we learn is the same lesson, but I like to think that he ended up making the sacrifice. Maybe the result was left out on purpose.


Eliezer Gonzalez

Jun 14, 2018

Yes, there's a powerful lesson in this story. Choose Jesus! Eliezer


Linda A Johnson

Jun 14, 2018

Your synopsis of "the young ruler" and what happened to him hit home for me. I never thought about his life after he walked away from Jesus. He had everything to gain by following Jesus, and as you said, he had to have lost every thing when Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans. Slaughter or slavery at the end of his life after he refused Jesus so great invitation, "Come follow Me. " I can think of things that keep me tied to my possessions and not to Jesus. Thank you for your post.


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