1 Corinthians 13:11,12
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Paul had just finished a note explaining to us what radical love is, the way God loves us and the way we should love God and others….then he explains basically….. before he understood radical love he acted and spoke like a child, understood the way a child does…but as he grew into God’s man he now gets it…..he struggles to see clearly but I believe he is saying as we see as Jesus sees we know people the way Jesus knows people.
We will choose to radically love the way Jesus loves not returning hurt for hurt but love instead
We choose to radically love by forgiving so that we can be free
We choose to radically love by not judging the intentions or motives of a person but allow the fruit to grow encouraging or correcting as we need based on the fruit.
We choose to radically love by choosing joy, to live in it and share it with others.
If we choose to radically love this way, I believe we no longer see dimly or darkly but we begin to see people the way Jesus sees them.
So how did Jesus see people? Let’s take a look at a few examples
We all have had or have presently people in our lives that are searching…How does Jesus see “good” people?
Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?”
18 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. 19 You know the commandments: Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”
20 And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.”
21 Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
22 But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.
24a “and when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful..”
This young man was a good man, he did what was right according to the world’s standard. He would have made a good friend; someone you could trust and rely on. He was probably even someone you could believe in. He is also known as the rich young ruler
Sometimes these are the people that break our hearts the most, He broke Jesus heart they are so close to the kingdom but reject it…He knew what was right to do, he knew how close he was but he had a love that was greater than God.
Most really good people do, if it is not their money, it could be family, it could be their lifestyle, things that they have ultimately made into their own God. Sometimes they are deceived and don’t believe they need a savior that somehow they can be good enough to make it into heaven on their own merits….Jesus’ challenges that thinking when he says, “none is good but God!”
Jesus loves all people but I think these people really break his heart because they know what it is to be really good people but they make their own goodness their God…
What do we do to reach them?
- Keep loving them
- Keep living a life before them that reflects Jesus
- Pray the Lord allows enough pain to come into their lives so they will seek him finding their goodness can’t meet their need or fix their problem….people never change until they are in enough pain
- Always remember the Lord loves them more than you do
How does Jesus see nasty people?
Have any nasty people in your life? People who are just so corrupt and evil you simply want them out of your life, they are a waste of your time? People who everyone is fearful of or angered by?
Jesus dealt with one guy in particular that was like that…Zacchaeus Luke 19: 1-10
Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town. 2 There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich. 3 He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.
5 When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”
6 Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. 7 But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.
8 Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
9 Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Notice the response of the people…they grumbled, whined and complained knowing who this guys really was…he stole from people through a form of legal extortion….he was well known in the community as a thief and the worst kind of traitor and sinner.
Is that the way Jesus saw him? Here is a second wealthy man but his response to Jesus is different from the young man we just read about…Jesus saw some unique things in this wealthy powerful, greedy, sinner….
Jesus had said earlier unless we come like a child we can’t enter into the Kingdom…
This wealthy sinner like a child, ran ahead of the crowd, and climbed a tree to see the God/man Jesus with no decorum, or concern about his reputation Zacchaeus climbed a tree so he could see Jesus
Zacchaeus unlike the young man earlier chose to give away his ill gotten gains to choose to be a follower of Jesus.
Jesus was not afraid of what others thought of him reaching out to this man, He knew of his reputation and his name was famous in the community. Jesus thought it was not good enough for the community to see him talking with Zach, he had to go to his house.
The arrogant, nasty individual broke because Jesus reached out to him…how did Jesus do it?
First, he lived a life that showed Zacchaeus the Father’s love
Second, He lived a life that showed he was approachable
Third, He took the risk to meet with Zach face to face not fearing for his own reputation
Two of the three things were Jesus letting his light shine so that all men would see His good works and honor his father in heaven
Our reputation proceeds all of us good or bad we are sending a message to the world around us by the way we live and treat others every day. That opened the door to where Zacchaeus felt like he could talk to Jesus. Jesus being willing to talk to Zacchaeus poured a radical love into him that not only change Zach’s life but can you imagine how all of the people felt, how they were impacted by getting their money refunded. The entire community was changed because of the way Jesus saw Zach.
How do you see the nasty people in your life?
Don’t allow their nastiness to control your response to them instead, allow the Holy Spirit to light up your life in such a way that you are an example of God’s love for the whole world to see.
Someone just told me in the last week how their boss who has been nasty to them all of a sudden had a serious health issue, they asked if they could pray for them and when they did they got temporary relief then it flared up again and the ask for prayer and got relief…God wants to reach everyone even the nastiest people…..he sees them as people his sone died for and see you as powerful against all the strength of the enemy to set men and women free.
So far, two men, one good, one nasty both impacted by radical love but….Jesus said he didn’t come for the healthy but those in need of help….the one in need received the radical love and their world changed forever and so did their community.
How does Jesus see those who know what they are doing is wrong but they don’t know any other way to survive?
How many people do you know like that, people that are in the business world and they know they are ripping people off but they feel stuck, drug dealers, the fake homeless and addicts. Others bound in addiction, or habits of gossip, lying that they can’t break. Normally people like this have to push down feeling valuable, they can’t see themselves as those masterpieces that God sees when he sees us. Jesus helped one of those feel loved and valuable again.
As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
This is a bigger story than what it seems, the Jews under Roman law were not allowed to mete out capital punishment so they were not only looking to trap Jesus under the law of Moses but under Roman law as well
This is a story of pure grace….God had given the law to Moses, Jesus had every right to condemn this woman because it was what the law required. We often feel justified in hating those who are con-artist, ripping people off, drug dealers, those trapped in their own bondages that they choose to participate in. This woman chose to be a prostitute, we don’t know why but Jesus knew all about her choices….he also understood the choices of all these men gathered around her in their self-righteousness ready to condemn her. Did they know she was always there, how convenient it was for them to catch her, how much time and effort did they spend to set this up….sure her prostitution was wrong but their self-righteousness was equally wrong.
Did Jesus just blow off her sin? No, he made it clear that according to the law she deserved stoning but he also made it clear if they were going to judge her, only the pure in heart could….What did Jesus write in the dirt? No one knows but I like to think because of his response the first time, he wrote a list of all kinds of sins so when he said let the one without sin cast the first stone they saw a sin they had committed and when he wrote the second time he wrote some of their names next to their sins so they knew, he knew!
Jesus made it so she understood whatever she was doing was wrong and that he knew exactly what she was doing, but that he loved her and he saw her pure heart despite her sin. He helped her realize she was more valuable and that and whom the son sets free is free indeed.
She came broken, exposed, and humble see through Jesus eyes God doesn’t hold things against people but instead pours out grace. Our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west. Jesus saw this broken woman as someone the Father loved. The people in your life who are like this are bound to hopelessness, not feeling they have a chance for any other kind of life. God loves them enough to draw them to himself, sometimes painfully
How do we reach them?
- Pray for them to come to the end of themselves and find Jesus
- Keeping living a life of grace and mercy toward others as we all have fallen short of the glory of God
- Be there to catch them when they awaken to realize they need help and long for freedom
How about you today?
Are you good enough? No one is good but God and the Bible says are goodness is as filthy rags but if you are willing he can take your goodness and make it great and you could walk in a relationship with him.
Are you nasty? No one will admit to that, but you can be nasty to some people at some times. Some have hurt you, so you want to hurt them right back, you look for ways to take control of the lives of others because of your pain…..Jesus wants to bring back your innocence, let you feel love and rejoice again…Zacchaeus rejoiced and that word means to shout and dance….do you want to dance again…the Lord will meet you there today
Are you trapped? Doing the things, you know are wrong to just survive in your world. Let the Lord show you there is a better way for your life….he sees you, he loves you he created you as his masterpiece with a much higher calling…take the leap of faith to surrender to Him today and allow him to set you free
If you have people like these three in your life (next week we will talk about three others Jesus sees) or you are like one of these three…Jesus radical love can heal and deliver and bring hope but you have to choose to allow him to reach you either way will you let him bring those around you to freedom through you or will you allow Him to bring you to freedom because you now know He sees you!