There’s a fascinating scene that appears at the end of Matthew 19, in which Peter, speaking on behalf of the rest of the apostles, makes the same self-righteous claim that the “rich young ruler” made to Jesus’s face only a few moments prior. It’s this erroneous assertion by Christ’s disciples that leads him to tell, perhaps, the most intriguing and unsettling parable of the kingdom in all of Scripture.
One of Christ’s most famous interactions is certainly his terse conversation with the rich young ruler in Matthew 19. The young man who sought to justify himself was abruptly met with the inflexibility of God’s law, as Jesus exposes the frailty of the young man’s own righteousness. Notwithstanding the young ruler’s giftedness and spirituality, Christ makes plain that the only righteousness heaven accepts is that of heavenly origin.