Why Jesus did not call Him good?

Jesus is the Messiah, the son of God, who is the perfect sacrifice of God. Yet, He did not want to call Himself as “good”, declaring only God is “good”.

Matt 19:17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. …

Why did Jesus stopped the rich man from calling Him good and declaring only God as good?

Jesus cured people by touching unclean people. Touching and curing unclean people makes Jesus unclean “according to the law”. We know that Jesus never really became “unclean” because all who touched Him (or) all whom He touched became clean and they were cleansed of their sickness and uncleanness. However, according to the law, Jesus did became ritually unclean.

Jesus touched a dead girl

Num 19:11 ‘He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days.

Luke 8:54-55 But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, “Little girl, arise.” Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately. And He commanded that she be given something to eat.

Jesus touched the dead body of the twelve year old girl to rise her from the dead. While her spirit returned to her, according to the law, Jesus became unclean by touching her who was dead.

Woman with flow of blood touched the garment of Jesus

Lev 15:25 ‘If a woman has a discharge of blood for many days, other than at the time of her customary impurity, or if it runs beyond her usual time of impurity, all the days of her unclean discharge shall be as the days of her customary impurity. She shall be unclean. …. Num 19:22 ‘Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.’

Luke 8:43-44 Now a woman, having a flow of blood for twelve years, who had spent all her livelihood on physicians and could not be healed by any, came from behind and touched the border of His garment. And immediately her flow of blood stopped.

The woman with flow of blood touched the border of His garment and making it unclean and thus, making Jesus ritually unclean according to the law.

Jesus touched a leper

Lev 13:45-46 “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ He shall be unclean. All the days he has the sore he shall be unclean. He is unclean, and he shall dwell alone; his dwelling shall be outside the camp.  …. Num 19:22 ‘Whatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean; and the person who touches it shall be unclean until evening.’

Matt 8:2-3 And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Jesus touched the leper to cleanse him.  According to the law, whoever touches a leper will become unclean.

Atonement for Himself

As we saw in the earlier post, Jesus is the sin offering for Himself who is the tabernacle of God who made His dwelling among men, to cleanse Himself because of the uncleanness of the people.

Lev 16:15-16 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place,

  • because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and
  • because of their transgressions, for all their sins;

and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.

John 20:17 Jesus said to her (Mary), “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

Just as the tabernacle of meeting which remained among the children of Israel in the midst of their uncleanness, or Jesus to remain among His people in the midst of their uncleanness, He must atone for Himself. This is why, He forbid Mary not to touch Him after He rose from the dead.

Hence, Jesus forbid the rich man to call Him as good because, He is yet to atone for Himself because of the sins of the people and their uncleanness.