Looking through the eyes of Jesus
Looking through the eyes of Jesus
When I was a child I acted like a child, spoke like a child and thought like a child. I had the faith of a child. Some children have innocence in their character. That character changes from the day they are born. I often think of my son Kyle and when he was about two years old, I would take him to playgroup to interact with other children. The children had all these toys to play with. I remember the way the little toddlers behaved. Some of these little ones, with angelic faces, had already developed a selfish character. They took ownership of the toys. Some were just nasty and hit the other little children over the head with the toys. I remember my son generously sharing the toys with the other children. It is not just because he is my son that I say this. He seemed different from the other children. Yes I was very proud of him. When the other children would take the toys away from him and say, “that is my toy”, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my son. Kyle was a giver, not a taker. He handled the situation quite well for a two year old.
His character as a two year old was probably better than mine. While he could easily forgive, I wanted to spank their little bottoms. You could do that back in the day. I didn’t. As an adult, I could process things differently than a child. A lifetime of experiences had tainted my adult mind and that affected my character and the way my eyes looked at the situation. We all have had different experiences which have molded our character; some for good and others not so good. Plain intellect can taint the way we see things and our character can be governed more by our experiences. With a steadfast and sure faith in Christ Jesus and the Word of God, we can add a spiritual component to influence both our intellect and character to work together. This changes the dynamics of our reactions to others and can help us to look with the eyes of Christ. When we look at life or other people through the eyes of Christ Jesus, we can see things in a totally different way. We can look at life, people, situations, hardships, circumstances and even our own belief system with different eyes, from a different perspective.
In the physical, people have eye problems. I have a friend who is coloured blind. When my husband and many of our friends neared the age of forty, our vision began to change and many of us wear glasses to read. Some are far sighted or near sighted; others may have eye misalignment or a lazy eye.
In the spiritual we can have eye problems too. Lazy eyes can make it difficult for us to see the needs of other people of a different persuasion. Whether they have different beliefs, language, colour of skin or cultural background, our eyes help us decide how we respond or think. Let’s go to a biblical example:
Jesus Heals a Blind Man at Bethsaida – Mark 8:22-25 (ESV)
22 And they came to Bethsaida. And some people brought to him a blind man and begged him to touch him. 23 And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the village, and when he had spit on his eyes and laid his hands on him, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.” 25 Then Jesus[a] laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.
First of all, if you saw some guy spitting on someone’s eyes, you would probably stop what you are doing, look, and be thinking, what is that guy doing? It wouldn’t make sense. Jesus spits on the man’s eyes and he was healed of his blindness but the man could see people as trees. When Jesus touched the man’s eyes again, the man could see clearly. Many times we are like that man. Sometimes we don’t see clearly. When we don’t see with good vision, everything can be affected in our lives and in the lives of others. There is usually a domino effect. Let’s also look at another example:
Jesus Begins His Ministry – Luke 4:14-15 (ESV)
14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth – Luke 4:16-21 (ESV)
16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: Isaiah 61:1-11 and Leviticus 25:8-12
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
In the previous verses read, this took place on the Sabbath day. Jesus went to synagogue. Today, many Christians and other religions, it is called church and most churches hold the Sabbath on Sunday as the early Christian Church were in the habit of meeting on the first day of the week. For the Jews it is called Synagogue. Determining what day should be observed as Sabbath, is a controversial subject between Christians, Messianic Jews and those of the Yeshua-faith. Messianic Jews keep Shabbat ( Sundown Friday until Sundown Saturday). Messianic Jews go to Synagogue on Erev Shabbat( Sabbath Eve~ Friday) and many meet for Torah study on Shabbos(Saturday) and many meet for Havdalah( End of the Sabbath~Saturday at dusk) service.
The early Church met on (day of Pentecost) what we know as Sunday, for them “the first day of the week”, but most would have continued in the Jewish tradition of Sabbath worship (Acts 2), meeting on Saturday also, with their Christian brothers and sisters. Acts 2:42 seems to indicate that the format they followed was very similar to their worship in the synagogue. It was the celebration of the Lord’s Supper that set apart their worship, as followers of Christ, from the regular Jewish worship. Of course that could not be incorporated into Sabbath worship, so they started to meet on Sunday as well. If you want to dig further, see http://www.biblelessons.com/origins.html or http://www.gci.org/law/sabbath1
In the example from Luke, the people in attendance are looking at Jesus as a carpenter’s son (son of Joseph) Jesus reads the scroll (scroll was the Nevi’im, the book of the Prophets, in which were the writings of Isaiah)) Jesus read a verse from the book of Isaiah. Picture all these people sitting there watching Jesus and listening to him read this scroll. The Synagogue is considered a Holy place. After reading it, Jesus hands them back the scroll and sat down. All eyes looking at Jesus (son of Joseph). I imagine they were quite shocked when he said, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” If you play basketball, you might call this a slam dunk for Jesus. Can you imagine? Jesus was reading an old testament (scroll) prophesy about himself. Wow! That passage was Jesus mission statement to proclaim the good news to the poor. Save the lost, and set the captives free.
1. Why did he say preach the good news to the poor? Why not the rich? We are called to do what Jesus did. We are followers of Christ. That makes us His disciples to preach the Word of God as He instructed us to preach it. People thought being rich meant that they were favoured by God or blessed.
“Luke 6:20 (ESV) 20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” Luke 6:20….”
Poor referred to as an example of those who welcome Jesus’ message, as oppose to the rich, who were less likely to think they needed anything! “While, then, the blessedness he spoke of belonged not to the poor because they were poor, yet it seemed to belong to them especially as a class, because they welcomed the Master and tried to share his life, while the rich and powerful as a class did not.”( http://biblehub.com/commentaries/luke/6-20.htm).
2. “Have you ever fallen from the favour of God? Can you fall out of favour of God? Can you even find favour with God? 3. Jesus came to set the captives free? Who are the captives? Anyone who is enslaved to sin. Everyone who ever lived or lives.
4. He came to give sight to the spiritually blind, to open their eyes to see the truth about life and death and to unveil the truth so that all of mankind would know eternal salvation through Christ Jesus. The gospel he proclaimed in the synagogue could set those who were there listening on that Sabbath day free. Jesus wanted them to see the truth found in Him, the Son of God. Jesus read that scroll for all people who have lived through the centuries and also for us who live today. Those in the synagogue did not have eyes to see. Luke 4:29 and they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff.
5. He came to help the oppressed.
6. He came to proclaim the year of the Lords favour, also known as the year of Jubilee. (The Israelites were to periodically observe a year of Jubilee, during which time slaves would be set free, the debts would be forgiven and they would receive many blessings.) They failed to observe this practice and God’s judgement was upon them. When Jesus said this is the year of Jubilee, Christ was talking about all their debts being forgiven. Jesus did that by dying on the cross.
Jesus mission was a people-focused mission. It is what made him see people the way only he could see them, with a heart of compassion. Time and time again Jesus showed his compassion through his life ministry whenever he encountered sick, blind, grieving people. He interacted with people. There are so many examples:
A Sinful Woman Forgiven – Luke 7:36-48 (ESV)
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man was a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”
41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
The woman washed his feet with her tears. Jesus saw her as a loving follower of Christ. He saw her differently than how Simon saw her. Jesus looks at people with compassion in order to help them. Our mission is to be like Jesus. Don’t look with your eyes, but look with the eyes of Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your mission. You will then discover ways to show others the love of Christ, by fulfilling the gospel and doing what Jesus told us to do.
Inspired by Sermon notes.
Pastor – Rev. Bryan Vaughan