|Jesus and the rich young man - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "Then Jesus, looking at him loved him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross and follow Me.' " Mark 10:21
I wonder what this young man was expecting from Jesus. A compliment, perhaps? Surely reassurance that he was in good shape to "inherit eternal life."
Yet here, just after we read that Jesus looked on him with love, He made a statement that probably didn't sound loving at all—that may have haunted this young man for the rest of his life.
Jesus, whose very life was God's "I love you" to the world, had a habit of doing that—telling the truth, no matter how unloving it sounded at the time.
- He refused to fudge the history of the woman at the Sychar well, restating her, "'I have no husband,'" truthfully with: " ' … for you have had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband' " John 4:18.
- He called sin, sin.
* He exposed it as the root of other problems, like the physical paralysis of the man whose friends lowered him through the roof to Jesus - Mark 2:3-12.
* He socialized with those He called " 'sick' " and " 'sinners' " in order to call them to repent - Mark 2:15-1.* He demonstrated that we are all sinners by defusing the situation between the adulterous woman and her would-be stone throwers - John 8:7,11.
- He rebuked fear and worry in His disciples during the storm, calling it faithlessness - Mark 4:37-40.
- He exposed what was satanic in even His closest follower. When Peter contradicted Him about His coming death, He said to Peter, " 'Get behind me Satan. For you are not mindful of the things of God, but of man' " Mark 8:33.
- He pointed out the danger of the disciples' sloth: " 'Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray lest you enter into temptation.' " Mark 14:37-38.
I could go on but I'm sure we get the idea.
Jesus still confronts us with hard but loving truths about ourselves and our situations. What is He saying to us today?
- That our priorities are wrong and we're too attached to earthly things?
- That the things we euphemize or call mistakes, faults, or weaknesses are really sin and need to be repented of?
- That our fear and worry are really an inexcusable lack of faith?
- That Satan has crept into our viewpoint?
- That our laziness and sloth are weakening us for temptation?
- Or …?
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, please help me to hear Your hard but loving words of truth to me in my situation, and then to make the appropriate changes in my thoughts, attitudes and actions. Amen.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.