It's amazing to me how gently Jesus handles those who are receptive to the gospel. He's not anything like us. He's not insecure and fearful - he's perfect grace and truth. His ministry is one of love and reconciliation for those who will hear him. I taught this last Sunday on John 4 - the woman at the well. She was a scandalous, adulteress woman who had been shunned by the town for her sexual sin and shame. She makes her way out to the well in the heat of the day and finds the Savior of the world
Jesus didn't just see her as dirty, he saw her in need of cleansing. He didn't just see her as guilty, he saw her in need of an advocate. He didn't see her as trashed, but someone to be redeemed. He didn't just see her as a rebel, he saw her as a worshipper whom the Father was seeking.
I was challenged by Jesus view of this woman - do I look at people with the transforming hope of the gospel? Or with the damning stare of hell? Do I let my fears and insecurities influence my faith? Or does my faith in God shove out my fears and give me boldness to talk to those who are perishing?
The verdict is still out. The pendulum swings back and forth. I need the grace of God to convict me where I fail to see people the way Jesus sees them. I need the love of Christ to compel me into greater and greater boldness with my unbelieving friends. And I need the power of the Spirit to open their eyes - like He did the Samaritan woman - and produce the new birth inside their souls.
My prayer this week is that God will help me love others they way I've been loved by him.