Oh the young rich man. This Gospel passage follows me like no other. Coming out of nowhere. Pricking me like a thorn. Challenging me to follow. Coaxing me out of my comfort level of faith.
A new line caught my eye recently: Jesus looked at the man.
Jesus gazed at him.
Like Jesus does with all of us, He gazed at him in compassion, with great love. Seeing all of this young man’s potential to be His follower. His capacity to surrender all.
Even though it looks like Jesus is asking the young man to renounce all he has for the kingdom, He desires this man’s ultimate good and eternal dwelling. He desires to be with this man forever in heaven. He wants to be this man’s everything, above his earthly attachments and possessions -- the things this man is scared and sad to lose.
His difficult “ask” of the man comes from a gaze of love -- from a spiritual vision of this man’s potential for eternal glory and union with him.
So let us not see this passage as merely an impossible ask, but rather a coaxing to follow the path that leads to eternal life and to give up that which we are scared and sad to lose for the sake of the kingdom.
For it comes from a gaze of Divine Love that wants nothing more than for us to be with Him forever in eternity.