If Jesus had eyes of love for the rich young ruler, then He surely has eyes of love for me and you in our disobedience.
When I was a child, I envisioned Jesus and God not with eyes of love but with burning disapproval and judgment. I pictured Him standing up in heaven, tapping His foot with his arms across his chest, demanding, “Kathy, when are you going to get good enough so that I can love you?” In a sense I feared His eyes blazing with anger.
I wish I would have had someone share the story of the rich young ruler with me then. It speaks to me now. Here’s the story from Mark 10:17-22:
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.
The rich young ruler considered himself faultless over his whole life. Who really does that?
Any of us who think we can earn a secure salvation is putting a huge burden upon ourselves, which God never intended us to carry. In fact—hold onto your seats—it steals God’s glory. This young man gets the glory. The Law points to our need for redemption and salvation because we can’t do it ourselves. The rich young ruler didn’t believe that.
Jesus calls him out. “Are you saying I’m God? Only God is good so therefore you must be calling me God. Is that true?” Jesus is the expert “asker” to draw out our motives—and a call for action. In this case, this “ruler” secretly values his possessions, which block his willingness to surrender to Jesus. His heart is “double-motivated.” He mentions what he feels comfortable in revealing—his perfection. His passion is not to bring glory to God but to have everyone applaud his sparkling halo.
I love Jesus’ response: And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him … (vs. 21).
Wouldn’t you love to actually see Jesus’ “look”? We can only imagine the sorrow mixed with deep love. Jesus wants the best for him and will risk rejection to tell him the truth. In my paraphrase, Jesus says, “Sell all your possessions and give to the poor because then you are truly worshipping. Admit your needy heart and then follow me. Your commitment to perform perfectly will fail. But I offer you acceptance and life despite your imperfections—which you have conveniently ignored.”
Sadly, the young man turned and walked away.
You don’t have to be insecure like this young man. Jesus looks at you with love, wanting you to have the assurance of knowing He has done everything needed to secure you as God’s chosen daughter, a princess.
I’m hoping that young man later meditated on Jesus’ words of truth and also eyes of love and turned his heart toward Jesus. When you begin to think God is judging you, remember He looks at you with love and woos you back to Himself.
When have you sensed Jesus’ eyes of love for you, even if you weren’t completely responsive?