We see a lot of things in our day. Today, we are often overstimulated. Are we we seeing people like Jesus sees them? Jesus sees us in light of the cross. To love is to take up the cross.
I have read and heard this story in Mark chapter ten so many times from my childhood until now. Something struck me different today about this account in Mark.
I realized that a certain description was given about the account here in Mark that is not present in Matthew and Luke who recorded the same account.
Mark records that Jesus looked at him and loved him. What a powerful statement here that Jesus looked at him. I imagine that Jesus was sizing up where this person’s heart stood, and then He loved him. I imagine that even with the faults that Jesus saw in him that He was going to be loving to him.
This young ruler had much, he had led a pure life, and had kept all ten commandments in his own eyes. Yet, what Jesus was about to tell him was going to be a huge challenge to him.
Some in today’s world might call Jesus’ statements unloving and not accepting of who this person was. But Jesus loved him and knew that he had a systemic problem in his life and he needed to hear this message.
To Love is to Take up the Cross
So Jesus said “One thing you lack…Sell what you have and give it away…Take up the cross and follow me.” This was the most loving message that Jesus could deliver to him. He pointed out to this person that although they thought that they had kept all commandments, the heart of following the commandments were missed.
Jesus always deals with people’s hearts instead of just their outward actions. You see, the young ruler hadn’t loved God with all his heart, he loved his material wealth more. And he did not love his neighbor as himself because he kept back his riches from the poor.
Jesus loved him so much that he needed him to decide between his material things and eternal life (following Jesus). This rich young ruler ends up choosing material wealth over Jesus, but because Jesus loved him, He gave him the choice.
Jesus loved this person by telling him the truth about eternal life and He loves you and I just as much. The truth today still stands, if you want to follow Jesus, you cannot love this world and the things in it.
You must love Jesus to have eternal life. These two loves are diametrically opposed. You must take up the cross.
Are you willing to give up everything in this world to follow Jesus? This is Christianity, to love and follow Jesus just as He has loved us first.
If your love is placed anywhere else besides Jesus, we find Jesus saying to us to go… give up everything that you love….and to follow Him!