It is often claimed by Muslims and other Skeptics that in Mark 10:17-22 Jesus denies His divinity by rejecting the notion that He is good. It reads as follows:
“As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. ‘Good teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘Why do you call me good?’ Jesus answered. ‘No one is good – except God alone. You know the commandments: Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ‘Teacher,’ he declared, ‘all these I have kept since I was a boy.’ Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ At this, the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.”
From this passage the idea is sometimes taken that Jesus is denying his own goodness, and therefore, throwing out any chance of being recognized as part of the Godhead.Is Jesus here rebuking the man for calling Him good and thereby denying His deity? No. Rather, He is using a penetrating question to push the man to think through the implications of his own words, to understand the concept of Jesus’ goodness and, most especially, the man’s lack of goodness. The young ruler “went away sad” (Mark 10:22) because he realized that although he had devoted himself to keeping the commandments, he had failed to keep the greatest of the commandments—love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength (Matthew 22:37-38). The man’s riches were of more worth to him than God, and thus he was not “good” in the eyes of God.
Jesus is essentially saying to the ruler, “Do you know what you are implying? You say I am good; but only God is good; therefore, you realize that you are identifying me with God?” [Brooks, commentary on Mark, 162] In Jewish thought, God was pre-eminently good, so that the ruler was indeed offering Jesus a compliment usually reserved for God. Since it is quite unlikely that the ruler truly believed that Jesus was identifiable as God the Son, this looks more like an effort by Jesus to make the man think about what he is saying before he blurts it out or engages in indiscriminate flattery.
Thus it is appropriate that Jesus parry the compliment in a way that does not specifically deny his membership in the Godhead.In short, there isn’t anything here that has Jesus denying goodness, or membership in the Godhead — just teaching an overenthusiast and/or challenger a lesson. Such an interpretation is substantiated by passages such as John 10:11 wherein Jesus declares Himself to be “the good shepherd.” Similarly in John 8:46, Jesus asks, “Can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” Of course the answer is “no.” Jesus was “without sin” (Hebrews 4:15), holy and undefiled (Hebrews 7:26), the only One who “knew no sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
The logic can thus be summarized as follows:
1: Jesus claims only God is good.
2: Jesus claims to be good.
3: Therefore, Jesus claims to be God.
So in conclusion Jesus’ question to the man is not to deny His deity, but rather to draw the man to recognize Christ’s divine identity.