In Mark 10, we’re told about the story of a rich young man who approaches Jesus and asks what he has to do to inherit eternal life. Now read Jesus’ reply below as I’ve shown an edited version of it. You’ll understand why I did this in just a moment.
Jesus looked at 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." — Mark 10:21
Read it again if you need to and notice every word. Now read the complete version of this same verse:
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." — Mark 10:21
Can you see the difference? If not, go back and compare the two and find the three words missing from the first one. Three little words:
and loved him
They don’t have to be there to show what’s going on, but those three words stopped me in my tracks. Here stands this young man who lacks nothing materially. Jesus can see his heart before he even speaks a word, and most likely knows what this young man will say.
Yet—and this is the part that blows me away—Jesus loved him. He loved this man whose world centered on his wealth. This man who would turn and walk away from the gift Jesus offered. The man who was so mired in his sinful nature that when offered the key to eternity (Jesus was offering himself here), he still chose to walk away.
Through all this, Jesus loved this man and met him exactly where he stood, figuratively and literally. Every time Jesus looks upon us, He loves us.
Every time Jesus looks upon our unbelieving spouses, He loves them. Exactly where they’re at.
These three little words held within the complete context of this chapter of Mark is one of the strongest examples of Christ’s unconditional love. When God inspired the men to write His Word down, He intentionally put those words in there for a reason. Not as an afterthought.
As Christ loved this man who was poor despite his wealth, so we are called to love our unbelieving spouses. We stand before them, possibly the only representation of Christ in their lives. We are the door Christ can walk through and reveal His endless and intentional love.
God’s love is not afterthought. It is the heart of His salvation. And when we allow God to use us to reveal His heart…His love, we stand in the footsteps of Christ.
Praying and believing,