Acts 10:38 – “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.” NASB
We talked about the word “Lost” and its power and importance in our last devotional. In Luke 15 we see the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. The Pharisees saw people as Sinners, because of what they did. Jesus was saying, “Go deeper and see who they are and who they were intended to be.”
If we learn to view people as creatures made in the Image of God. If we see them as those who has gone off course, become separated from God and each other and Lost we will treat them differently. If we view people, all people, as having great value to God that they are worth the shepherd searching for them, we will treat them differently. If we see them as worth the woman turning her house upside down to find, we will treat them differently.
In the Lost Son, we find the father waiting for the son to come home. He looked through the pig muck, the rags, the stench, and the filth and said, “I’m waiting for my son to come home.” The elder brother who represents the attitude of religion and the Pharisees was not waiting for a son or a brother. As far as he was concerned this person was unworthy to be called a son or a brother. Remember when the prodigal came home the reaction of the elder brother?
I find his words impactful and revealing. He did not say, “my brother, but your son.” In his mind, the younger brother had excommunicated himself from the family. He had become such a sinner there was no coming back. The father saw him as LOST, but the brother saw him as a SINNER!
I hope you see the difference. The father said, “He’s my son, therefore he can come back home.” The elder brother said, “No, look at what he has done!” The elder brother focused on what he had done, the father on who he was. The elder brother’s focus was the outward, the father on the inward, the person, the heart. The father said, “He’s my son! He was dead but now he’s alive again!”
Jesus, in this parable, was communicating how He looks at people and giving us and pattern to follow. The view of Jesus is communicated in His question, “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” He was making it clear that one soul is worth more than the entire material world or the universe for that matter.
Jesus is communicating value and the worth God places on every human being. The Pharisees could not understand that. They focused on the outward, but Jesus looked beyond the faults and saw the need. He saw people as Lost, Separated from God, and need to be Saved.
It was because of that view that Jesus was never afraid of people. The church is often afraid of the Lost. Why? Why is religion threatened by the Lost? Why does the church often find it difficult to sit and talk to people like this? Let me illustrate it this way and hope it resonates and possibly convicts us.
I had a person tell me once, “You can’t hang around those kinds of people. They curse and swear, they smoke and drink, and do terrible stuff.” I had a person tell me that some people that had come to the church, lost, that they didn’t act right and didn’t dress in the prescribed religious mode and needed to clean up before coming. One said, “We want quality people.” That caused me to become furious inside. I calmed myself down and asked, “What quality were you before Jesus saved you?”
We can look at the outward and miss the person and the purpose of God failing to be examples of His Love, Mercy, and Grace. If you will keep looking beyond the outward, you will discover the person on the inside and that one who is created in the Image of God. Jesus was never offended by how people dressed or acted. He never condoned it, but he never acted religious. I can say that because they wanted Him to come to dinner with them and they would never have invited the Pharisees!
There is much more to say but I will end this consideration of “How Jesus Viewed People” and “How We Should View Them” by saying, can we see people as Lost not as Sinners? Can we look beyond what they do or how they look and see their need? Can we look, as God does, and take what we have received and share it with them in Love? If we can learn to do that, we will win far more souls than we will ever win with our view of our personal piousness and superiority.
God bless you and may this day be joyous for you!