I started this painting intending it to be a depiction of a Gospel scene. It became intensely personal the more I immersed myself in it until the presence of the rich young man felt like nothing but an intrusion. I’m still trying to figure out what to do about the original painting, but I did want to at least crop the picture of it. Jesus is looking at me, at you, personally, and what a gift to be able to enter into his gaze. It’s through his gaze that so much love can pour. The original painting can be found here.
“He was setting out on a journey when a man ran up, knelt before him and put this question to him, ‘Good master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You must not kill; you must not commit adultery; you must not steal; you must not bring false witness; you must not defraud; honor your father and mother.’ And he said to him, ‘Master, I have kept all these from my earliest days.’ Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and he said, ‘There is one thing you lack. Go and sell everything you own and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.’ But his face fell at these words and he went away sad, for he was a man of great wealth.” – Mark 10: 17-22
Jesus looked steadily at him and loved him, and then he told him what was lacking.
He loved him!
The only reason Jesus told the young man to let go of his things is that that is what stood between him and intimacy with Jesus. Jesus had already initiated the intimacy by loving him. But the young man was clinging to his things too fiercely, to closely in his heart, for there to be room for Jesus in there. Intimacy with Jesus. The greatest gift! Jesus was asking him to give up something so little compared to the gift he wanted to give. Compared to the great gift of Jesus’ love and intimacy, anything else is just a worthless block in the way and we are so sure to recognize that the moment we give it up and let his love take its place.
As I’ve spent time in Jesus’ gaze of love through the hours of painting this, I’ve come to know some things I need to give up to let his love penetrate my heart more deeply, and for me they aren’t material. For me they are resentments and such, and I’m so glad to know because I want his love in there. I don’t want that stuff in the way.
He looked and he loved.
“You ravish my heart, my sister, my promised bride, you ravish my heart with a single one of your glances.” – Song of Songs 4:9
He loves each one of us passionately. How could we not be willing to throw anything away for him and his love? When we receive his love and let it overhaul us it is all that matters.