By: Carole L. Haines
17 And as Jesus was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22)
So many of us are familiar with this story, but the subtle thing that grabbed my attention this time was the fact that Jesus looked at him, loved him, and spoke truth to him. Jesus didn’t look at him and judge him, He didn’t look at Him and condemn Him. Jesus looked at him and loved him. In the midst of His sinful addiction to stuff, to things, to wealth; Jesus looked at him and loved Him.
For us, this means when we come to Jesus with all our “crap” still clinging to us, He looks at us and He loves us. He doesn’t love the crap, but He loves us. He doesn’t love the addictions, the selfishness, the self-righteousness, the hate, the bitterness, the anger. No, He doesn’t love all that, but He loves us. And He loves us too much to leave us there, just like the man in this story, He speaks the truth we need to hear into each of our hearts. Jesus speaks hard truth to us because He loves us, because He wants to set us free from all that bogs us down and binds us to the world and to ourselves. Oswald Chambers puts it this way,
“Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” (Mark 10:21). This look of Jesus will require breaking your heart away forever from allegiance to any other person or thing. Has Jesus ever looked in this way at you? This look of Jesus transforms, penetrates, and captivates. Where you are soft and pliable with God is where the Lord has looked at you. If you are hard and vindictive, insistent on having your own way, and always certain that the other person is more likely to be in the wrong than you are, then there are whole areas of your nature that have never been transformed by His gaze.”
(My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers, 9/28)
O, the matchless love of Christ, how precious it is. How deep it reaches inside of us to pull out all that we still cling to that keeps us from Him. Praise Him for such indescribable love and grace.
O, Jesus, thank You so much for loving us too much to leave us as you find us. O grow us all up into full maturity in You. Please transform us by Your gaze and make us fully Yours, fully mature. Amen
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)