Day 67 – Jesus Loved Him

“A man ran up to [Jesus] and fell on his knees before him,” asking how he might inherit eternal life. Jesus responded that the man must obey the 10 commands.

“Teacher,” [the man] 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. Mark 10:2o-22 NIV

Jesus loved him!

Jesus looked down into this earnest man’s face and loved him.

And in his love, Jesus told the man that he must sell his all to give God his all.

What must have gone through this young man’s mind as he slowly and sadly stood up and walked away? Maybe he thought that eternal life wasn’t worth giving up his earthly joy.

Did he realize that Jesus himself is eternal life? That Jesus was calling him to give up anything that might come before his relationship with God? Had he known this truth, would he have followed then? Did he realize this later and return?

What was going through Jesus’ mind? His love for the man demanded that the man give up his idols. Jesus’ love for us knows that loss often proceeds greater intimacy: God will have no other gods before Him. Was Jesus sad that the man didn’t get it? Did he know he planted a seed that would later bear fruit?

Later, impetuous Peter of course blurts out: “We have left everything to follow you!” (vs. 28) as if it’s a contest. He who gives the most away wins.

But it’s not about winning. It’s not about negotiating with God to get blessings: I’ll give up everything if you bless me, Jesus.

It’s about losing everything in order to find Jesus. And that’s what Jesus tells him: sure, you’ll get something on this earth because of your sacrifice, plus you’ll get persecution now and eternity later. But the real “getting” is when you realize:

But many who are first will be last, and the last first.

When you stop trying to win (even by giving up the most!), you will gain Jesus. Peter eventually “got” it.

And I hope the man (otherwise known as “the rich young ruler”) eventually got it, too.

Oh, Lord: I am kneeling before you. You look down at ME with love! (You do?) What do you ask me to give up in order that I may gain you in a new way? Please speak loud enough that I may hear and obey. Amen.

Today’s Readings (3/6/12): Numbers 11:1-12:16,  Psalm 31:14-18, Proverbs 11:12-14, Mark 10:1-31. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.

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2 thoughts on “Day 67 – Jesus Loved Him

  1. It’s true that many philosophies embody the notion of giving up things, letting go. What sets Jesus apart is this: He practiced what he preached NOT as an example for us to follow and to achieve spiritual enlightenment. He practiced what he preached because we could never achieve spiritual enlightenment. We could never do enough, let go of enough material possessions, be charitable enough, to reach God. Jesus, as the Godman, let go of everything to come get us because we couldn’t come to Him. He lived the perfect life we couldn’t (and can’t) live, then died an ignominious death in our places so that BY His grace and works, by His efforts alone, we could be reunited with God.

  2. This is a moving concept that Jesus addressed. It can also be echoed in many different religions and philosophies. The idea that earthly posessions, and earthly wealth hinders a person from reaching spiritual freedom, and even enlightenment. To quote a slightly different version in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club “It’s only after you’ve lost everything… that you’re free to do anything.” Although Palaniuk may be a far cry from Jesus, the message remains the same.
    However, what Jesus also adressed that Palahniuk did not, is the importance of charity. To not only free your spirit, but to put your earthly possessions to good use, in the hands of the less fortunate.

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