The Unexpected Way Of Love

“And as he 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?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 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.’ ” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 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.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” (Mark 10:17–22, ESV)

The bold emphasis above is mine. It’s what sticks out to me. The words are a bit unexpected in our day and age because in our time, love takes the path of least resistance. Love is a bit mushy. Love tends to be blind to the faults people have, meaning fundamentally, love in our generation sees less of a person, not more of a person.

That wasn’t Jesus way though. When He loved a person, He loved the whole of a person. Every bit of a person, the good and bad. We might say, Jesus’ love leaves no stone unturned. Read again how Jesus works:

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.”

As far as I know (or can remember), there’s not any other instances in the gospels where Jesus asks a man to “sell all” and “give to the poor”.  Why did he say that? That seems a bit harsh, seems to make the kingdom of God a bit out of reach. In fact, Jesus will affirm that very thing a few verses later:

And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”” (Mark 10:23–25, ESV)

Jesus did that because love wants the best for a person, and in this case, the best was not to let a man live in delusion of his own grandeur of love for God, when in reality money sat on the throne of his heart. So Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and loved him by attacking the idolatry that would destroy his life.

NOTE 1 TAKEN – Love is specific in it’s work for good in a person’s life.

NOTE 2 TAKEN – Bringing sorrow and disheartenment is NOT always unloving. Who knows if this man went away and in his sorrow saw the reality of his life and repented and followed Jesus. Humble understanding of self can do great wonders in understanding the gospel.

NOTE 3 TAKEN – To leave a person in their idolatry is not love, not the kind of love Jesus displayed.

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