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Seeing Others Like Jesus

Do you see others like Jesus? How did Jesus see people? After a call not to simply listen to the Word, but to do the Word, James opens the second chapter in his book with a vital test in doing the Word. With this test, James helps us to understand more about what it means to see people like Jesus sees them.

In his test, James sends two visitors to church to see how they’re treated. These visitors are completely different socially and economically. One is rich and the other is poor. But even though they are different in certain ways, James makes it clear that they must not be treated any differently. Apparently, this was a problem for the Believers he was writing to in that time, and it could be a problem in our time too, if we aren’t very intentional.

In James 2:1-13, we’re given four directives for how we must see others…

1) See others through the eyes of Christ. (James 2:1-4)

The early church was counter-cultural in that it attracted people of affluence and influence as well as people of more modest, even impoverished means. In fact, the first century Church mostly attracted poor people. But lest there be any confusion, it does not matter how much financial wealth any of us has, we are all spiritually bankrupt apart from Christ. And the inverse is also true, with Jesus, we are spiritually wealthy beyond measure!  

Even though Jesus makes this teaching clear, in the early church, some apparently were showing favoritism to the wealthy, which James taught was just not right. We must see everyone through the eyes of Jesus! How did Jesus see people?  

Jesus did not look at outward appearance; He looked inward at the heart! We see this again and again in the gospels, and everyone, including the Pharisees, knew this about Jesus. (Ref. Matthew 22:16).  

Jesus was not intimidated, influenced or impressed by social, intellectual or financial position; and we shouldn’t be either.  We are not to treat these any differently than we would anyone else. Whether somebody rolls into the parking lot at Watermark in a Bentley or a beater, we should treat them exactly the same. And to Watermark’s credit, I honestly think we would!  

Jesus saw the potential in people, especially sinners, whose lives could be changed!  Jesus saw the potential in a rough, impetuous fisherman.  He knew this man could become a committed follower and even a foundational rock in the New Testament Church! Jesus saw beyond the current state of a sinful woman He met one day sitting by a well. He saw her life forever changed; and not just hers, but the countless others from her community that she would lead to Jesus! We tend to judge people by their past, not their future. This was not Jesus’ way - consider what He did with the relentless persecutor Saul who, when he surrendered his life to Jesus, became the Apostle Paul! 

Jesus sees us, not for who we have been, but who we can be and will be in Him!  When you surrender your heart to Jesus, your past is exactly that: it is the past!  You should learn from it (you would be naive and foolish not too), but then look ahead to your future in Christ! Turn from your sin, and follow Jesus as a fully devoted disciple, producing vibrant fruit in your life!

Let’s be honest, we tend to judge people too quickly and because of their past behavior. Jesus was a friend to sinners, not because He approved of their sin; He absolutely did not, nor should we. But Jesus was willing to sit with sinners, even to eat with them, not to compromise with them, but to show compassion for them! He was ready and willing when they sought it, to forgive them.

James echoed the same mindset as Jesus! If we are going to do the Word, we must welcome anyone who wants to know more about what it means to follow Jesus, to commit their life to Him as Savior and Lord, and to worship Him! It doesn’t matter if they’re a sinner or a saint, if they’re penniless or prosperous, or if they dress like a peasant or a prince, we must not show favoritism.  

Pastor and author Warren Wiersbe writes: “If the guest is a Believer, we can accept him because Christ lives in him. If he is not yet a Believer, we can accept him because Christ died for him. It is Christ who is a link between us and others and His link is love!” We must see others as Christ sees them!  

For much more, including three more directives for how to see others like Jesus, click here to watch the service and listen to the sermon: Blueprints - Part 5 - Seeing Others Like Jesus.   


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