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And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 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.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. [1]

Mark 10:20-2

Jesus knows. Jesus sees what is in our heart. Jesus knows the “one thing” that we need to deal with. We like to pretend Jesus does not know but He does.

  • Always.
  • Completely.
  • Down to the last detail.

Jesus will look us hard in the eye. He will see.

Jesus loves us too much not to help us deal with the “one thing”.

Jesus will challenge us to deal with it. Jesus challenges us to follow him. Jesus challenges us to the radical life of being totally committed to doing what God wants us to do.

Yes, Jesus, the Messiah, knows us. Jesus wants us to focus on the “one thing”.

With all his fine qualities, the young man was very superficial in his views of spiritual things. He certainly had a shallow view of salvation, for he thought that he could do something to earn or merit eternal life. This was a common belief in that day among the Jews, and it is very common today. Most unsaved people think that God will one day add up their good works and their bad works; and if their good works exceed their bad works, they will get into heaven.

Behind this good-works approach to salvation is a superficial view of sin, man, the Bible, Jesus Christ, and salvation. Sin is rebellion against the holy God. It is not simply an action; it is an inward attitude that exalts man and defies God. Did this young man think that he could do a few religious works and settle his account with the holy God?

The young man had a superficial view of Jesus the Messiah and Son of God. He called Him “Good Master” (Teacher), but we get the impression that he was trying to flatter the Master; for the Jewish rabbis did not allow the word good to be applied to them. Only God was good, and the word must be reserved for Him alone. Jesus was not denying that He was God; rather, He was affirming it. He just wanted to be sure that the young man really knew what he was saying and that he was willing to accept the responsibilities involved.[2]

Let us not miss this. But Jesus, gazing intently at him, loved him and told him. [3] That is the main thing about the main thing. Jesus loves us. He makes sure He sees us. His prescription is just for us and not others. Jesus sees first, loves second and speaks third. That is a wonderful model for us.

The intensity of Jesus’ gazing at the man and the recency of Jesus’ having hugged children and laid hands on them in a physical demonstration of blessing them—these factors favor that loving the man includes another physical demonstration, such as putting his arm around him or patting him on the shoulder. The verb “love” can include a demonstration of that sort. Jesus’ loving the man exhibits divine goodness.

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[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Mk 10:20–22). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, pp. 145–146). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 183). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.