Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.
The rich young ruler may have come with the wrong attitude, with the wrong question, with the wrong desire. He may have come with some pride in his heart. He may have had the wrong outlook on the whole situation. But Jesus loved him. He wanted the best for him. He wanted to offer him a different kind of life than the one he was living. He wanted, really, a relationship with him.
Jesus sees us in our lost state—making wrong choices, wandering around without Him, full of wrong ideas—and He doesn’t despise us. He doesn’t sneer at us. He doesn’t treat us with contempt and wish for our destruction. But He looks upon us with great love, enough love to go and die for us on the cross. He knew the rich young ruler would go away sad, back to his riches and his empty life of excess, and still Jesus loved him even then. That is always Jesus’ heart toward us. He can’t help but love us, even when we don’t love Him back or we don’t love Him like we should or we don’t love Him more than the things we have.
The hallmark of our Lord Jesus Christ is His love. It is imprinted on everything He ever did, from the creation of our world to His creation of us to His sacrificial death and to His personal relationship with each believer. That love is more powerful than we can truly understand, because we only have a limited and often selfish perspective of it. We see it for what it does for us. But so often we can fail to see it when, as in the case of this young man, it doesn’t come in the way we expect it to or it doesn’t result in what we want it to. Because sometimes what we miss is that when we walk away in rebellion or rejection, His love for us doesn’t change.
What does Jesus’ love mean to us? How have we experienced it personally? Or have we experienced it personally? Does an understanding of His love change how we’ll respond to Him? Jesus’ love may have a depth to it that we can never fully comprehend, but that doesn’t mean it is complicated. Jesus loves mankind, each individual human being, when we are lost and when we are saved, when we’re obeying and when we’re rebelling, when we’re near and when we’re walking away. He can’t help it. He is love, after all. So may that love change us in a profound way as we choose to accept it and let it work in our lives.