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 love of Christ towards sinners.
This is a truth which is brought out in the expression used by St. Mark, when in his account of this man's story, he says that 'Jesus beholding him loved him.' That love, beyond doubt, was a love of pity and compassion. Our Lord beheld with pity the strange mixture of earnestness and ignorance which the case before Him presented. He saw with compassion a soul struggling with all the weakness and infirmity entailed by the fall; the conscience ill at ease and sensible that it wanted relief - the understanding sunk in darkness, and blinded as to the first principles of spiritual religion. Just as we look with sorrow at some noble ruin, roofless, and shattered, and unfit for man's use, yet showing many a mark of the skill with which it was designed and reared at first, so may we suppose that Jesus looked with tender concern at this man's soul.
We must never forget that Jesus feels love and compassion for the souls of the ungodly. Without controversy He feels a peculiar love for those who hear His voice and follow Him. They are His sheep, given to Him by the Father, and watched with a special care. They are His ride, joined to Him in an everlasting covenant, and dear to Him as part of Himself. But the heart of Jesus is a wide heart. He has abundance of pity, compassion, and tender concern even for those who are following sin and the world. He who wept over unbelieving Jerusalem is still the same: He would still gather into His bosom the ignorant and self-righteous, the faithless and impenitent, if they were only willing to be gathered.
We may boldly tell the chief of sinners that Christ loves him (Matt. 23:37). Salvation is ready for the worst of men, if they will only come to Christ. If men are lost, it is not because Jesus does not love them, and is not ready to save. His own solemn words unravel the mystery: 'men have loved darkness rather than light.' 'Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life' (John 3:19, 5:40).
- from another entry in the same book as last time