Seeing Like Jesus

Jesus saw two brothers…Jesus saw the crowds…Jesus saw their faith…Jesus saw the woman…

When I worked in a downtown church office, it was only a two-block walk to favorite cafés and restaurants. At twelve noon I locked my office door, leaving the constant call of people and their needs temporarily behind.

However, between my office and the tantalizing aroma of freshly brewed coffee and a sandwich on homemade bread with tantalizing ingredients, I passed the large city park. Its tall trees and green lawn invited me to a picnic table, but the lawn was usually filled with lounging high school students, most with tattooed arms and spiked hair. Behind the trees often lurked those same students—or unkempt and smelly street people—exchanging a joint or other illegal substance.

Intent on the one hour dedicated to me and my satisfaction, it was easy to avoid the park and its people. Keeping my eyes on the sidewalk before me or the coffee shop ahead, I could almost dream them away.

But no amount of avoidance or dreaming removed the reality. In the next day’s newspaper I would read of a teenager who overdosed. Or a street person’s body found down by the river.

Even Christians with dedicated “world vision” grow weary of the world’s needs. We quickly turn the magazine pages so as not to gaze too long on the sad face of yet another child with a cleft lip. When one more appeal envelope arrives in the mailbox, we’re tempted to toss it, unread, into the recycling bin.

Over sixty times in the New Testament we read the words “Jesus saw.” Most often these words refer not only to physical sight, but a perceiving with the mind or understanding. This is illustrated most vividly in these words: When Jesus…saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them…

Those of us who wear glasses regularly visit the optometrist for checkups. Frequently we need a new prescription in order to see more clearly. Perhaps we should all more regularly ask God if our spiritual vision is healthy. It is very likely we need the lenses of our hearts cleaned in order to see as Jesus saw. And then act with compassion as He did.

By Marilyn Ehle
Used by Permission

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