New American Standard Bible
Jesus said to him, "If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
King James Bible
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
Darby Bible Translation
Jesus said to him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell what thou hast and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.
World English Bible
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."
Young's Literal Translation
Jesus said to him, 'If thou dost will to be perfect, go away, sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven, and come, follow me.'
Matthew 19:21 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
If thou wilt be perfect - The word "perfect" means complete in all its parts, finished, having no part wanting.
Thus a watch is perfect or complete when it has all its proper wheels, and hands, and casements in order. Job was said to be perfect (see the notes at Job 1:1), not that he was sinless, for he is afterward reproved by God himself Job 38; 39; Job 40:4; but because his piety was properly proportioned, or had a completeness of parts. He was a pious father, a pious magistrate, a pious neighbor, a pious citizen. His religion was not confined to one thing, but it extended to all. Perfect means, sometimes, the filling up, or the carrying out, or the expression of a principle of action. Thus, 1 John 2:5; "Whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected." That is, the keeping of the commandments of God is the proper expression, carrying out, or completion of the love of God. This is its meaning here. If thou wilt be perfect, complete, finished - if thou writ show the proper expression of this keeping of the commandments, go, etc. Make the obedience complete. Mark says Mark 10:21, Jesus, beholding him, loved him. He was pleased with his amiableness, his correct character, his frankness, his ingenuousness. Jesus, as a man, was capable of all the emotions of most tender friendship. As a man, we may suppose that his disposition was tender and affectionate, mild and calm. Hence, he loved with special affection the disciple John, eminently endowed with these qualities; and hence he was pleased with the same traits in this young man. Still, with all this amiableness, there is reason to think he was not a Christian, and that the love of mere amiable qualities was all the affection that was ever bestowed on him by the Saviour.
"One thing," adds Mark, "thou lackest." There is one thing missing. You are not complete. This done, you would show that your obedience lacked no essential part, but was complete, finished, proportionate, perfect.
Go and sell that thou hast ... - The young man declared that he had kept the law. That law required, among other things, that he should love his neighbor as himself. It required, also, that he should love the Lord his God supremely; that is, more than all other objects. If he had that true love to God and man - if he loved his Maker and fellow-creatures more than he did his property, he would be willing to give up his wealth to the service of God and of man. Jesus commanded him to do this, therefore, to test his character, and to show him that he had not kept the law as he pretended, and thus to show him that he needed a better righteousness than his own.
Treasure in heaven - See the notes at Matthew 6:20.
Follow me - To follow Jesus then meant to be a personal attendant on his ministry; to go about with him from place to place, as well as to imitate and obey him. Now it means:
1. to obey his commandments.
2. to imitate his example, and to live like him.
LibraryOn the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xix. 21,"Go, Sell that Thou Hast, and Give to the Poor," Etc.
1. The Gospel by the present lesson has reminded me to speak to you, Beloved, of the heavenly treasure. For our God hath not, as unbelieving covetous men suppose, wished us to lose what we have: if what hath been enjoined us be properly understood, and piously believed, and devoutly received; He hath not enjoined us to lose, but rather shown a place where we may lay up. For no man can help thinking of his treasure, and following his riches in a kind of journeying of the heart. If then they are buried …
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament
Love Thy Neighbour
On the Words of the Gospel, "When Jesus had Finished These Sayings," Etc. --S. Matt. xix. 1
Eligius, Bishop of Noyon.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;
The young man said to Him, "All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?"
But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property.
"Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.
"And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
When Jesus heard this, He said to him, "One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
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