John 12:44-45 “Then Jesus cried out, ‘When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me.’”
“I can only imagine” is the title of a popular and inspirational song. What will it be like to see the Savior in all of his splendor? We can only imagine! On the other hand, there is a way to move into the presence of Jesus and understand how he responds to us.
We can move beyond our imagination by looking at the many examples of Jesus interacting with people in the gospels. How he responded to them is how he responds to us.
Look at Jesus!
First, it is important that we hear Jesus when he says, “For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17) He is for us, and we see this in the historical examples recorded in the gospels
For example, look at the Luke 7:36-50. Jesus allowed himself to be touched by this “sinful woman.” This is not a parable! This is a life event in Jesus’ time on earth. What a contrast between the Pharisee who had invited Jesus to dinner and the sinner woman who, no doubt, came without an invitation. This did not take Jesus by surprise; he knew the mind of the Pharisee as well as the mind of the sinner woman. He also knows our mind and is still willing to touch (Luke 5:13) and be touched by each of us.
When Jesus spoke forgiveness to this woman the guests asked, “Who is this who even forgives sins.” They knew only God could forgive sins (Mark 2:7; Isaiah 43:25; Luke 5:20-23).
The response of Jesus was, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Our faith will also save us, and we can go in peace.
There was a time that I read the Bible like a legal document from which I was to sort out all of the arguments pointed toward those I thought were in religious error. A book of do’s and don’ts! No more. I now read the Old Testament as the story of God mingling with his creation, getting his people ready to meet the Christ. I read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to see Jesus in all of his fullness of God.
How Jesus responded to the folks in the historical setting of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is how he responds to us today and how he will continue to respond to people in the future.
Read the many interactions of people with Jesus and place yourself in the character of those who had that first-hand experience. This is an adventure that will take the dull out of reading!