February 5 – Jesus Loved Him

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

February 5 – Jesus Loved Him

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” (Mark 10:21).

This is the same story from Matthew 19:16-22, but there are interesting details in Mark’s version that flesh out the story.  First of all, it is filled with action.  In Mark 10:17, at the beginning of this story, Mark writes “And as he (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?’”  

This young man, wealthy as he was, recognized the importance of a moment with Jesus, so he ran to catch him.  Jesus would have stopped as the young man knelt before him.

I see some real lessons for us in just that sentence.  We should never miss an opportunity to spend a moment with Jesus and when we see it, we should run to catch him.  Then, as soon as we do, we should drop to our knees in humility because anything we learn from him is greater than anything else we will ever learn.

Jesus teaches us one more lesson in true humility, though in the next sentence; “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).

That’s a tough proclamation to swallow for most of us. We work quite hard to make sure we’re ‘good.’  We follow the rules, we go to church, and we manage our money well. We don’t want to face the fact that only God is good and we will never measure up.  All of the rules we follow and church-going we do will never get us there.  We will always miss the mark.

Jesus tells the young man that he knows the commandments and the young man agrees that he has kept them all his life.  Then, comes the verse highlighted above.  This young man was loved by Jesus.  It wasn't because he kept the commandments; it was simply because Jesus loved him.

Mark finishes the story of the young man with more great active description: “Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions” (Mark 10:22).

The young man was devastated to find that he hadn't done enough to earn his way into heaven.  Following the rules wasn't enough.  Jesus told him that he had to do more than that.  He had to be willing to give up the things he loved the most in order to care for others.

Jesus let him go.  He didn't love him any less, but He had to let the young man go … back to his wealth and his rule-keeping life.  Those were satisfactory for the young man in this life, but would not gain him the next.  His heart was too wrapped up in his wealth and had run out of room for others.