Undeserved love

Mark 10:20,21

These words of the young "CEO" sound like someone's spit flying up from the pages of Scripture. And the spit finds its target on the beard of God. Read his words again: "All these I have kept since I was a boy."


He was a good man, probably not much older than Jesus. As long as he could remember he had gone to the synagogue. He listened intently during his early instruction. His goal was to please those around him, to please the LORD, and to wait alertly for the arrival of his Christ. He defended his classmates who were bullied in the playground of his youth. He was talented and would later leap-frog others on the corporate ladder. He was a sharp dresser. Every mother hoped he would notice her daughter. In all his success, however, he had forgotten the first of the commandments of God. He focused on the others. He had convinced himself that "all these I have kept since I was a boy."

It's hard for us to imagine how this claim made Jesus feel. For starters, it simply was not true—not even close—and Jesus knew it. No doubt this man was a model citizen and most likely turned the heads of many. But his flaws were numerous, and those flaws eliminated him from citizenship in heaven.

There are only two ways to get into God's heaven: by being perfect or by trusting in the perfection of a substitute provided by God. Since "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), the latter is the only answer. By pointing out this man's materialism in the following verses, Jesus makes it clear to us that the man hadn't obeyed even the First Commandment. Hopefully, one day he would realize his arrogance and approach Jesus again, confident not in his own pious accomplishments but in the divine achievements of Jesus.


Sometimes I think that the next words of our text are somewhat overlooked, and we end up fast-forwarding to the part where the young man gets up off his knees, brushes off his silk suit, and walks away sad because he had much wealth. We quickly jump to judge him. At times we prefer to be like the sons of thunder and suggest that fire come down from heaven to destroy the spiritually confused.

But Jesus is not like us. "Jesus looked at him and loved him." Jesus had every right to feel insulted, but he loved the man first. Picture it . . . the imperfect claiming to be perfect standing in front of the perfect. The man was so close to the Savior but so far from salvation. Jesus would wait for him. After speaking the truth in love, Jesus gave him time, waiting for him to rise from years of spiritual confusion and sinful pride. He was given time to reexamine his life and his need for the Christ in light of the Scriptures. Jesus looked at him and loved him.