The initial exchange between Jesus and the rich man raises the question: Can one gain eternal life, or is it a gift from God? This is an honest and upright man, one who has been observant from his youth, but who realises that there is still something missing in his life. Even the righteous find it difficult to respond to the radical demands of discipleship. Nowhere does Jesus say that wealth is bad. In fact, riches were considered an indication of divine favour and a reward for piety. Jesus is claiming that they can be a diversion from the real goal of life, a hindrance to entrance into the reign of God. Jesus admits that this is a hard saying.