If I were placed in the pages of Scripture – Mark chapter 10 to be exact – I would probably notice the young, good-looking man who Jesus was talking to.
(Okay… if I were able to see, that is! But, hey, in my imagination I’m not blind…I see 20/20!)
I think I’d notice he was rich by the clothes he wore.
I would see clearly that He was successful by the way he spoke and carried himself.
I would certainly notice he was young.
It would be obvious he was curious based on the questions he asked Jesus.
What would you see? Do you think that’s what Jesus saw?
Hold that picture in your mind. Now, instead of looking, let’s listen in. The young, rich, good-looking guy asked Jesus, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17)
Jesus proceeded to list all the things He knew the rich man would have assumed would qualify him for eternal life.
The man responded with “been there, done that!”…Well, not exactly, but that was the point.
He must have thought, “Whew! I not only said the right answer, I’ve lived the right life. Surely, Jesus will affirm I’ve qualified for eternal life.”
Jesus didn’t offer a high five or “way to go.” Instead, Jesus’ response must have totally unnerved the man.
“Jesus looked at him and felt a love for him.” (Mark 10:21)
Jesus’ look penetrated the rich man’s heart. He not only saw the many things the man had listed…but the one thing he lacked “sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” (v. 22)
Jesus wasn’t concerned with right answers or right efforts.
He didn’t see just a man with money.
He saw the condition of the man’s heart.
It was what he lacked that Jesus saw because it was that which would keep the rich young man from devotion to God and peace in life.
What does Jesus see when he looks at me? What does He see when He looks at you?
How would you feel if His gaze was upon you?
If I felt the penetrating gaze of Jesus…
I think my tendency would be like the rich young ruler.
I think I would start to think through all the reasons he should be pleased with me.
I think my mind would race with all the things I’ve done right and all my personal merit, and just like the rich man…I would seek to justify myself even as I stood in the shadow of grace.
But, if Jesus looked at me and loved me, He wouldn’t see my list or notice my accomplishments.
Love doesn’t take note of failure or success.
Love doesn’t see accomplishments as reason for acceptance.
Love sees the heart.
It often is able to see most clearly what I lack. Jesus saw the rich mans lack. He saw the one thing in his heart that would keep him from truly looking at Jesus and loving him back. The rich man kept hold in his heart of his stuff and I think it was because his stuff represented his own effort and success. It’s humbling to admit even your best isn’t good enough; even your accomplishments are anemic and your wealth is sheer poverty compared to Christ.
What’s lacking in my heart that the loving look of Jesus would see first? Is it humility? Devotion?
What is lacking in yours?
Jesus’ look was, and is, love.
Jesus sees our lack not because of condemnation or disapproval, but because of love.
His love wants more for us than we want for ourselves.
His love weeps at our settling for less than He offers.
His love sorrows at our choosing a list of accomplishments over the grace He freely gives.
Love sees what we lack and lets us see it too so we can gain more than the shallow satisfaction of our own sense of righteousness.
His love sees our lack so we can see more clearly His bountiful, gracious provision.
Don’t despise His look… for it is Love.
Where does this message meet you? Leave a comment here.