“Apparently there is something about spiritual sight that is the key to the kingdom, and apparently not even Jesus could force people to see in this way.”
This comment, from chapter 20 of Greg Pierce’s The World as It Should Be, is pretty shocking if you think about it for more than a moment. All of the parables, sayings, and stories that Jesus told were designed to jolt people into a new view of life, this world, even the universe. Jesus did not force; he invited us to a new vision.
Have you ever been jolted into a new way of seeing or understanding something? Sometimes this happens when we travel to another country for the first time, especially if the country seems much different from ours. When we see child prostitutes lingering in the streets, encounter entire families crawling over garbage dumps to find food or items they can sell, or stand on the site of a mass grave where genocide has occurred—such moments apply a shock to the system, and we realize that the world involves far more than our own family, city, or nation.
Jesus could look at a crowd and see the desperation, poverty, or hunger. He could also see the beautiful human beings God had created, the people God forgave completely and loved unconditionally. For three years Jesus worked with his disciples, training them to see what he saw—not only the raw needs of humanity but the divine calling of every person.
And now you and I are called to see what Jesus saw—and to respond to the world as Jesus responded. In fact, this very day Jesus responds to the world he sees, but he responds through our eyes, minds, hearts, hands, and feet.
Do you want to see? Are you willing to be changed?
An exercise for the week:
Take a twenty-minute walk and ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the people you see. Whether it’s a bus driver, a waitress, an attorney, a musician, or a child, pray for the ability to see past the ethnicity, social status, clothing, and so forth. Pay attention to what God shows your heart.