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Christian Living

Spiritual Life

He First Loved Us

I can bet you that I’ve read the story of the rich young man and Jesus at least a hundred times. But I never once noticed the gem of truth that was lying there. I discovered it one morning as I read Mark’s account of that meeting (Mark 10:17-22). This disciple caught something that day that others may have missed.

The rich young man cut right to the chase, when he asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” 

Jesus answered him by saying, "You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.'”

"Teacher, he declared, 'all of these I have kept since I was a boy.'”

What was Jesus’ response to him? 

“He looked at him and loved him.”

I stopped when I read those words and marveled. I re-read them again, this time allowing their full impact to settle firmly upon my heart.  

“He looked at him ... and loved him.”

How incredible. My own heart was moved by the depth of His compassion. To me, that one particular statement so beautifully epitomizes what all four of the gospels represent in their portrayal of this Gentle Shepherd.

Let’s read on as Jesus continues:

“One thing you lack,' He said. 'Go and sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'"

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

I began to see that even while the Lord was discerning just how far off course this young man’s true intentions were, He still loved him. Even when He knew this young man was about to walk away from Him, He still loved him.

The more I gaze into the multi-faceted diamond of God’s love toward us, the more I walk away totally undone.

I have learned more and more that the Lord is simply looking for a heart that He can call His own, one that is captured and won by the simple glance of His eyes. 

He longs to find someone who is full of passion, like the Shulamite woman described in Solomon’s love letter. She went up and down the village streets, desperately searching for her beloved and would not be consoled until she found him. (Song of Songs 5:6)

That was the message that Jesus wanted so much for the rich young man to understand that day. But all He could do for the moment was simply look at him ... and love him.

We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19)

Copyright © Missey Butler, used with permission.

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