“The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, ‘Who then can be saved?'” (Mark 10:26)
In reading stories about people like the man in this episode, people who don’t really understand Jesus, we can be tempted to look down on them. The man appears to have been wealthy, and he had a high opinion of how well he kept the law. But he seems to have had no idea that Jesus was simply calling him to give his whole life to God — or maybe he just didn’t want to do that. I think to myself, “I guess he just doesn’t get what it means to follow Jesus.”
And yet I often respond to Jesus in the same way that man did. Often I don’t catch what Jesus is about, or understand what he has just said, or realize what he expects of me. But in this story, Jesus doesn’t look down on the man. Jesus looks at him and loves him, the Bible says.
I am so thankful that — even though the man had it all wrong — Jesus didn’t just dismiss him or condemn him. Instead, Jesus loved him and invited the man to follow him. Right there is something wonderful I can learn from Jesus. When I don’t understand his teachings, or when I misunderstand the truth about Jesus and his kingdom, there is still a loving invitation from Jesus to follow him and keep learning. Whatever else Jesus says to the man in the story, it’s in the context of Jesus’ love for a person who doesn’t fully get it. That is reassuring to me!
Thank you, Jesus, for looking at me with love even when I have it all wrong. Instead of seeing what I have done, show me what you have done for me. Amen.