Imagine Seeing People as God Sees Them
(Notes taken from Imagine Institute, 2017)
Even as the disciples ask, “Whose sin caused this?", Jesus imparts to this same man His love and life!
Imagine this scene from John chapter nine: It is a warm Sabbath morning in Jerusalem, and we are strolling with Jesus and His disciples. Having visited the temple, we follow the Master through the narrow, bustling streets. Jesus stops suddenly. The disciples whisper questions among themselves.
“What’s going on?” .. "Why are we stopping?” .. “What’s the Master doing?”
We approach Jesus in order to inquire about what has attracted His curiosity. We are quickly silenced by the intensity in His eyes. Following His gaze into a shadowy corner, we discover the object of His rapt attention—a blind beggar huddled alone beside the teeming river of humanity.
The people who jostle past the beggar are as blind to his presence as he is to them. But Jesus notices him. The Savior’s brow furrows with concern, but his face radiates compassion. We are gripped by the love pouring from His eyes.
Yet before the Master moves to touch the needy, blind beggar, one of the disciples shatters the tender moment. “Master, whose sin caused this man’s blindness? Did he do something wrong, or were his parents at fault?”
We are struck by the contrast. The Master is thinking, “How will I minister to this precious child of God? How can I alleviate the loneliness He must feel?” But the disciples’ only focus seems to be finding fault and assessing sin.
Within this biblical story lies a significant insight into Christ-like living, as well as a partial explanation for the sometimes irrelevance of the twenty-first century church. God’s heart is captivated by human need, while God’s people are too often preoccupied with human sin.
When God appears and declares something to be “not good,” we must sit up and take notice because we have a serious problem.
If we are to live a testimony of Christ’s life and love with those around us, we must begin to see people as both fallen and alone.
God is burdened by our sin because He is a holy God. Yet, what we often miss is that God’s heart is also burdened by our sin because sin is what keeps His children alone, separated from Him and from one another.
As we come to truly understand His complete provision for sin at Calvary, we are challenged to consider this question: Upon which of these two issues (sin or aloneness) can we actually make an impact?
When Christ cried out from the cross, “It is finished!” He was declaring that He and He alone had made provision for our sin.
We have the privilege of joining Him in removing a measure of the aloneness in people around us and introducing them to Jesus, who can remove their spiritual aloneness.
Recall that when the blind man came to Jesus for healing, the disciples wanted to know whose sin had caused the blindness. Jesus was moved with compassion and miraculously healed the blind man. Jesus never specifically called attention to the man’s sins, but Christ’s concern for the man’s aloneness clearly made a spiritual impact because the man boldly declared his faith in the One who had healed him (see John 9:38).
The book of Genesis recounts the day that humankind lost fellowship with the Creator. Genesis 3:1–24 details how Adam and Eve fell from their position of perfect communion and harmony with God to one of animosity and strife. As a result of these events, humankind is now fallen, sinful, and in desperate need of a Savior. We must, however, look back to the second chapter of Genesis. Before Adam’s fallenness, God declared his state of aloneness, and described it as “not good.” Our Creator is acutely aware of man’s condition. We are both fallen and alone. If we hope to reach the world for Him, our church must reflect this same relational foundation. We must see people as Christ sees them—both fallen and alone.
(To be continued next week ...)
I am also mindful of Greg's insightful comment during his testimony on Sunday about the personal impact of his own commitment to God's mission ...
I look forward to our continuing journey together as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and our being born anew that we might grow into His likeness to help remove aloneness from people we encounter just like Jesus did, with such compassion and love.
With love and prayers,