Why Call Him Good?

Joseph Preston

Friday Mar 29th, 2024

Jesus once said, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone." Only God is truly and completely good in His very nature. We may try to be good people, yet our goodness is always less than perfect. All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

Where does Jesus fit in? Can he be called good? He points out that only God is good in Luke 18:19. In that account, Jesus doesn't directly answer whether he himself should be considered good. Is Jesus good in the way that can only be true of God?

In another account, when religious leaders declare that no one can forgive sins but God alone, Jesus declares that he forgives sins. Then he proves that he has that authority through healing the paralyzed man in Mark 2. Jesus could do what only God can do. So the One who can do what only God can do must also have the nature that only God has. When Jesus asks, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone,” he doesn’t answer whether or not he should be called good. But he should. He has the authority and power that only belong to God, so he also has God’s nature. John 3:16 reminds us that God loved the world and sent His one and only Son, Jesus, into the world. Jesus truly is good and rightfully can be declared to be good.

Does Jesus eventually answer his own question about goodness? Yes, he does answer. The answer he gives is Good Friday, a day that seems to be devastation and loss, and yet his willing sacrifice of himself through death on the cross to pay for our sins is Goodness in person and Goodness enacted. Greater love has no one than Jesus laying down his life for us. Friday is Good because the One who has authority to forgive sins also had the Good nature that would be able to accomplish what only God can do to provide that forgiveness of sins. Therefore, Jesus died on the cross on our behalf, paying the penalty for our sins because of His good love for us. Romans 5:8 declares, “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Why call Jesus good? Why call Him something that is only true of God alone? Because He is God the Son who entered His own creation to provide the way for our salvation. He paid our debt through His death on the cross, defeating death and rising back to life, so that all who put their trust in Jesus alone for salvation will receive a right standing before God and live forever with Him.

Indeed, Jesus is good. Jesus died and rose again. For all who trust in Him alone, He gives life. He forgives our sin. He welcomes us into His family. He gives us an eternal hope and a forever home. Why call Jesus good? He is. He died for us and He rose again.

Why not call Him good? Why not trust in Him? Why not follow Him? Why not honor Him with every part of your life?

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