Summary: Jesus loved some sinful and imperfect people. He can love you with your faults, too.

“The People Jesus Loved”

February 22, 2015

Mark 10:17-22

17 As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

18 “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’”

20 “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

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

This Scripture has been used to illustrate many lessons. Usually it is about the danger of riches or the cost of following Jesus. I have used it to illustrate that Jesus was God – because He alone was good. This morning I want to use it in a little different way. I want to focus on Jesus’ love for this man. The Bible says,

“Jesus looked at him and loved him.” Mark 10:21a

Put yourself in this scene. A man comes running up to Jesus, falls on his knees and gasps “What do I have to do to go to heaven! What do I have to do to live forever?”

This young man was very unusual. He was rich. He was a leader or ruler of some sort – and he was religious since he was a young boy. He must have been exceptionally intelligent and wise. He was contemplating some pretty heavy stuff – eternal life. I wonder if he realized that all his money wasn’t enough; that there was more to life. He probably had seen other rich people die – maybe even got his wealth as an inheritance – and realized that wealth doesn’t do you a bit of good when you are dead. So he wondered about living forever. Unlike Ponce de Leon, he didn’t search for a fountain of youth – he searched for Jesus. When he learned where Jesus was – he took off running. When he found Jesus he fell at his feet and asked his question.

This young man was religious, he was intelligent, he was a good man and he was humble. He wasn’t afraid to fall on his knees and ask this very personal question. But it still wasn’t enough – and he knew it. That is why he came to Jesus. He lacked one thing. Jesus was not first in his life. Jesus was not Lord – money was.

I imagine, as Jesus answered his question and gave him his answer – that his mind processed that information like a computer. His face fell as he heard that he needed to give up his wealth. And he lacked the faith to do it – at this time. He left sad. I like to think that he later came back and was willing to give everything up to make Jesus Lord. I like happy endings – but we don’t know that for sure. We do know that Jesus looked at this young man, so full of confusion and so ambivalent – and loved him.

I like that. You don’t have to be perfect to be loved by Jesus. Faults and failings are not going to keep Jesus from you. They may keep YOU from Him but they won’t keep HIM from you. As Jesus looks at you – He loves you. Understand that whatever it is that stands between you and Jesus has to go; whatever it is above Jesus in priority has to go. But as you are struggling with those things – I want you to understand that Jesus loves you.

There is another person in the Bible that was so unlovable – that Jesus loved. She had lived a hard life; a sinful life. Listen to John’s account of that meeting.

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans).

John 4:7-9

In this day and age Samaritans were considered unclean by the Jews. Women were beneath them. So for Jesus to talk to one was very unusual. Many sermons have been preached on this account of the woman at the well. We know that she had 5 husbands and the one she was living with then she was not married to. I have heard it speculated that the other women in the community hated her and that is why she was getting water at this unusual time – to avoid them. They probably were rude to her, shunned her and embarrassed her.

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