Mark 10:21 (MSG) “Jesus looked him hard in the eye -- and loved him!
Passages Referenced: Mark 10:17-22, Matthew 19:16-22 & Luke 18:18-23
If you want to be better at something, it would be wise for you to look at others who do that thing really well, better than you do, and learn from their example.
As we look this month at the idea of loving well, it seems like a good idea to look at the greatest lover of all time. Yes, the answer is Jesus.
Let’s take a look at how he loved. Okay, that’s basically what the whole of scripture is about. So let’s look at how he loved one guy specifically - because he loved everyone specifically, uniquely, personally - He still does.
In this story, the man Jesus is loving is known as “the rich young ruler”. If we look at him as he is described in 3 of the gospels he is by all accounts a genuinely good man. He is courageous - he comes to Jesus despite his colleagues who are all opposed to him. He is humble - he falls at Jesus’ feet and calls Him “good teacher”. He is hungry - he runs (not walks) to Jesus recognizing that, even in his success and wealth, he is still missing something far more important - eternal life - and not just life that continues but life that contains. Real, abundant life.
How does Jesus meet this man? “He looked him hard in the eye -- and loved him!” This perfect love didn’t take the form of a big hug or a warm and fuzzy affirmation. It came sounding more like a doctors diagnosis - and it was personal and specific to him. Jesus meets him right where he is - in his goodness, his courage, his humility - and in his need. He gives him the second tablet of the 10 commandments - the ones that deal with how we relate to others, which this good man has apparently kept well. And then He meets him, in real love, in his hunger - giving the doctors diagnosis of what the man is feeling - “This one thing you lack….”
Jesus is not just “speaking the truth” to him, come-what-may, flippantly, carelessly, selfishly (like too many of us religious people are prone to do). He is working for his best - real, continuous and full life. He shows him the answer to his question, the one thing he is missing that is keeping him from the life he is obviously hungry for.
He is loving the man well.
Father, I admit that I usually - okay, always - want Your love to feel warm and comfortable. Would you help me to recognize and be grateful for Your love even when it doesn't come in the package I was hoping for? Thank you that You love me too much to let me miss Your best for me. I pray that this could then translate well to the way I love others.
Begin a list in a journal of the ways you see and experience and know the love of your Father. It is likely to be long so give yourself plenty of pages. Keep it handy so you can record more as you recognize them.