Jesus "loved" the rich young man

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by steadfast7, Nov 5, 2011.

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  1. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    In the story of the rich young man, Mark 10:17ff, why does Mark mention that "Jesus, looking at him, loved him ..."?

    What kind of love was this and why did Jesus express it for him?

    My tentative position is that Jesus was expressing a typical biblical posture that God loves the man who fears God and keeps his commandments (v.20). This man was sincere and strove hard in his obedience.

    other possibilities?
  2. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    Jesus was a perfect man. As such he perfectly kept the law of God. He loved His neighbor as himself. More can be said but this much is true.
  3. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    But was Mark merely uttering a theological truth? What about the context of the narrative and the historical context? Why point out the love of Jesus for this man in this particular passage? lets go deeper. :)
  4. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I believe that God has a general love for all of his creation especially those made in his image and a special love for his Elect.

    Also we have no clue if he one day converted to Christ.
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    I have heard some say that this may be evidence that this rich young ruler later repented and was one of the Elect. But this is conjecture. Like Bob said above, Jesus loved his neighbor perfectly.
  6. bug

    bug Puritan Board Freshman

    Jesus loved his neighbour, he also loved his creation, I see nothing difficult with accepting those statements, for there is nothing in the context that leads us to conclude this is love for the elect and not just his general care that we see excercised every day for the sake of the elect, coupled with human emotion/ care as to why it is mentioned, well there are many reasons, firstly can learn something of his attitude towards the lost, also we are given an example to follow, if Jesus loved this man, what is our attitude to be to those we reach out to with the gsopel?
  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Ever hear that this might be St. Paul?
  8. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    He was one of the the Elect, and normal forms were followed. The law was preached, he was convicted, and then we don't hear anything more, but I think it's more than safe to say repentance followed.
  9. saintandsinner77

    saintandsinner77 Puritan Board Freshman

    Where is the rich man's election found in this passage? I mean, it's good to hope, but better to look at what followed their conversation to understand the passage- the rich man went away sad because he didn't want to give up his idolatry and Jesus responded: “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:23) Let's stick to what the text says, not go beyond. And Yes, Jesus said He loved the man but the man also went away sad- Jesus has a love for all humanity as image bearers (including the non-elect), as Weston Stoller stated...whether it contradicts our theology or not, it says what it says...
  10. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    Agreed. I see no reason to conclude that he was elect. The gospels tend to portray those who believed, either on the spot or eventually, in a favourable light. Not so with this man.
  11. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    Another link:
    A free PDF of D.A. Carson's The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.

    Carson notes five distinguishable ways that the Bible speaks of the love of God:
    1) The peculiar love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for
    the Father.
    2) God’s providential love over all that he has made.
    3) God’s salvific stance toward his fallen world.
    4) God’s particular, effective, selecting love toward his elect.
    5) God’s love is sometimes said to be directed toward his
    own people in a provisional or conditional way—conditioned, that is,
    on obedience.

    It's one of my favorite books: short, insightful, helpful, and sound.
  12. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Neither the passage as a whole, nor the terminology of "love," tells us the slightest thing about the RYR's eternal destiny.

    The specific comment of "love" is predicated of Jesus, and is intended to tell us something about him, the loving subject, and is not especially informative about the object of the love.

    The only way we could presume anything about the RYR's elect/reprobate status, is if we bring a complete doctrine of the love of Christ to this passage, a doctrine that is not dependent on this passage to reveal anything to us about the nature of his love, or the nature of the object.

    Personally, I tend to take the passage as necessarily contributing to the formulation of a doctrine of the love of Christ. That is to say: this passage was meant to reveal facets or layers about the doctrine of the love of Christ. So, what we find here shouldn't contradict other truths about the love of Christ, but it may say something new, something that broadens our conceptions, or something that highlights or emphasizes a previous aspect.

    On the face of it, the picture painted for us in the RYR's portrait is that of a man full of self-justifying conceit. His confrontation with Christ does not resolve his issue, nor is it the Gospel-writer's purpose to have us resolve it. We are also being confronted with OUR self-justifying conceit. Jesus looks at each one of us, readers and hearers, with LOVE--and commands us to make the same choice he calls for from the RYR. How will we respond?

    In the larger context, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem for a final confrontation with destiny--a path that not a ONE of his disciples is able to grasp, despite Jesus' many statements and warnings. Here comes a man of youthful vigor, of means, of passion, of "holiness" who seems willing in any way to join this movement. Won't he be a grand addition to the triumphal train? The first of a flood of new retainers in the new Administration? And Jesus does what? To the disciple's shock, he turns the man's enthusiasm into disappointment. He frustrates his aims and self-perception by unceremoniously (but lovingly) ripping away his masks. This is just what Jesus does--to everyone--and what they do with what he does to them is what makes for a disciple or an enemy.

    If we start importing an overly rigid definition of the love of Jesus TO this text, we are going to MISS the essential thrust of it, and what it says to us quite simply about the kind of person Jesus is.
  13. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thank you. I agree, we miss the point if we're looking for something loveable in the young man. We ought to be fixing our eyes on Jesus, and seeing how he speaks loving truth (though hard truth) to the rich as well as to the poor.
  14. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    I appreciate the comments about the primacy of looking at love as coming from the subject, Jesus. However, I still see clues in the text that point to something lovable in the man. Note it says, "Jesus, looking at him, loved him."

    Even if Mark is simply highlighting Jesus the lover, why write it here in this context? Isn't it still possible that Jesus is reflecting the principle that God loves the obedient? I see nothing in the text that suggests that the man did not do a "good" job obeying the commandments - at least the ones that Jesus listed.
  15. JoannaV

    JoannaV Puritan Board Sophomore

    I wouldn't relate v.21 to v.20 so much as 21&22. Rather than trying to understand the love, I would remember that Jesus loved him when trying to understand the subsequent verses. Then again, generally one can learn more than one thing from Scripture.
  16. saintandsinner77

    saintandsinner77 Puritan Board Freshman

    Calvin's take on this passage:

    But God is sometimes said to love those whom he does not approve or justify; for, since the preservation of the human race is agreeable to Him -- which consists in justice, uprightness, moderation, prudence, fidelity, and temperance -- he is said to love the political virtues; not that they are meritorious of salvation or of grace, but that they have reference to an end of which he approves. In this sense, under various points of view, God loved Aristides and Fabricius, and also hated them; for, in so far as he had bestowed on them outward righteousness, and that for the general advantage, he loved his own work in them; but as their heart was impure, the outward semblance of righteousness was of no avail for obtaining righteousness. For we know that by faith alone hearts are purified, and that the Spirit of uprightness is given to the members of Christ alone. Thus the question is answered, How was it possible that Christ should love a man who was proud and a hypocrite, while nothing is more hateful to God than these two vices? For it is not inconsistent, that the good seed, which God has implanted in some natures, shall be loved by Him, and yet that He should reject their persons and works on account of corruption.
  17. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    We can establish that it wasn't his electing love, but a mere general benificence for his creation is not the only other alternative. I think it's possible that Jesus viewed him as a faithful Jew, in part, and had a kind of old testament love for those who were obedient. The man wasn't perfect, by any means. He was self-righteous and covetous. But he wasn't wicked, was he?
  18. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    Sometimes love means confronting the self-righteous and wicked in their sin. :2cents:
  19. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    I simply don't see that reasoning warranted in the text
  20. AlexanderHenderson1647

    AlexanderHenderson1647 Puritan Board Freshman

    Can we? I take scripture for its very black and white portrayal of the matter of God's love and hate. He perfectly loves the elect, and perfectly hates the reprobate. No one here would hazard that God both hates and loves the elect. Why any jump to the conclusion that God both loves and hates the reprobate makes just as little sense. If love is anything and does anything, it has to be everything and do everything for which it is purposed. God's love has a very ultimate goal in mind, life everlasting in Christ. We very well might, and must, think that the RYR is elect. Else God might well have called him and "child of the devil" or perceived the end of his motives and called him on them or otherwise. Pharisees and other Hebrews equally boasted of the merits of their law keeping and he showed nothing but disdain for their "diligence" (which was none at all but in their own esteem.) We cannot read Romans to say: 9:13 "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated and loved." I have never yet read any passage that consigns God to loving the reprobate and the burden is on those who claim that he does.

    I'm attempting to understand your views that Jesus had an "old testament love" as God's love is no different for substance in former times or advental/post advental. And how are you defining "wicked?" I would define the wicked as any and all not regenerated by the Holy Spirit having turned from their sin to the savior by faith alone. Are you speaking about outward conduct?
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2011
  21. Beoga

    Beoga Puritan Board Freshman

    I have not heard this but I recently heard Doug Wilson (gasp!) say that he thinks it might be Mark. But this thought probably has something to do with the Federal Vision so I don't pay too much attention to it.
  22. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It is difficult to find any reasoning warranted from the text because the text simply states a matter of fact and moves on. If the text is being used to answer a broader theological question then a broader theological framework is necessary in order to answer the question.

    The text is concerned with entering into the kingdom of God, as the following instruction given to the disciples will show. This gentleman's reverential regard to the law of God indicated he was not far from the kingdom. The "love" is that of a "Good Master" showing the way into the kingdom of God. The climax of the text is, Follow me.

    The text does not say the man was elect.
    The text does not say that "God" loved the man.
    The text does not say this man was loved as a righteous man.
  23. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    A very narrow reading of the text and of theology. Does God exhibit a love for the reprobate? yes, if not, how could he command us to love our neighbour? He lets the rain fall on the wicked and righteous alike. The Lord is good to all he has made. These are biblical evidences, in case we didn't know it intuitively, that God has A LOVE for the reprobate even though it's not the SAME love he has for his elect.

    In the old testament, there is a theology of God loving those who are obedient and faithful to his commands. the Psalmist is often noting the favour that he enjoys from God as a result of his own righteousness, and Proverbs is full of this as well. Of course, there is a fuller picture that is fleshed out by books like Job, and NT theology. Although the RYR is "wicked" by our standards, by virtue of being a human being, I don't think we need to import that in this particular text. It seems to me that the man was a true Jew, blessed by God, as evidenced by his wealth, which many Jews saw as flowing from his right standing before God. This theology is not full-orbed, of course, but it is scriptural.
  24. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    But, doesn't this make God's love responsive to us, or motivated by something within us. I think His love is higher than that, in that it is motiviated from within Himself alone, and not by an external source. I gather you might disagree with this view. I think all this text says is, that Jesus fixed his gaze upon him, and directed love towards him.

    Here's a good book to check out: Gods Passion for His Glory (9781581340075): John Piper: Books

    Blessings and fellowship!
  25. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    IF we were to conclude that Jesus found something loveable in the man (which I still doubt is the right reading), why would the loveable thing about him be his obedience? When we look at Jesus' interactions with those who approach him, the people who get the highest praise tend not to be the most obviously obedient but rather those who display the most faith. So IF there was something loveable, perhaps Jesus loved the fact that the man approached him, which is a bit like showing faith.
  26. steadfast7

    steadfast7 Puritan Board Junior

    the love to which you are referring here is certainly true of God's electing/sovereign love. But this is not the only love that God is able to exhibit, and should not be limited to just that. there are many loves in God.
  27. J. Dean

    J. Dean Puritan Board Junior

    The Pastor who conducts our midweek Bible study believes that the rich man was indeed regenerate, and that the sadness referred to when he went away was that he was preparing to have a "garage sale" so to speak.

    Me personally, I don't know. I'm more inclined to believe that at the time he was not converted and went away sad because he loved his possessions more than God, but as you indicated, that doesn't mean he didn't undergo conversion later on.

    All this being said, the fact that Jesus loved him does give clue to the possibility that Mark wasn't just talking about God's "general love" for creation, but rather the special love for someone who is elect.
  28. moral necessity

    moral necessity Puritan Board Junior

    So, after election God becomes motivated by something less worthy of love and attention than himself? It's all for His glory, is it not? Is that not His motivator still even after election? This is what Edwards is getting at in the book. He responds to himself, not an outside source. I guess I see it differently.

    Blessings and fellowship!
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2011
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