Bible Answer

Why did Jesus love the arrogant rich young ruler?

Pastor Armstrong teaches in Luke's Gospel (Chapter 18) that the rich young ruler enquiring how to get to heaven was arrogant: thinking he was entitled entrance because he was a Jew. However in Mark 10, after the ruler stated he had kept the laws since his youth, Jesus looked at him out of love. I do believe that the young ruler was sincere with his question, not arrogant, in trying to find out how to obtain Heaven, but he simpy found the cost hard to accept. Can you comment?

We believe you may have misunderstood Pastor Armstrong’s point in his teaching. The man was indeed sincere in asking his question of Jesus, as you say, but he was also arrogant in his presumptions about his standing before God. 

Luke 18:18  A ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luke 18:19 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.
Luke 18:21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”

In answer to Jesus’ challenge, the man arrogantly presumed to have kept all the commands of the law since his youth, as he says. Clearly, this was a false statement, for no one lives without sinning. The man assumed he had not sinned, which was ignorance and arrogance. 

So the man assumed he merited heaven on the basis of his own righteousness, which was why Jesus tested him by demanding he sell all his possessions. Jesus' request was intended to expose the man's imperfect heart which loved money more than God, and in that way Jesus' question revealed that the ruler was not as righteous as he presumed himself to be. Nevertheless, the man left sad rather than repentant because he was very rich, and therefore Jesus’ request was too demanding for him to accept. 

Regarding Jesus’ love for that man, Jesus’ affection for the man didn’t rest on whether the man was arrogant or humble, good or bad, righteous or unrighteous. Jesus’ love for mankind is based on God's mercy and grace alone. Ask yourself this…did Jesus love you because you were perfect or lovable? The Bible declares the opposite:

Rom. 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom. 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die.
Rom. 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

So Jesus’ love for that man (and for everyone) is based on God’s mercy alone, not on our worthiness to be loved. Regrettably, the man refused to accept Jesus’ love and remained dead in his sins because of his arrogant and self-righteous heart.