Last week I was in a Discovery Bible Study with a couple of people, discussing a portion of the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman in John 4. The story presents a beautiful portrait of Jesus as he pays no attention to the cultural, ethnic, gender, and social biases that govern too many of our interactions with other people. While everyone else in the story is making judgments about the woman based on her ethnicity (Samaritan), sex (woman), and past (multiple marriages and co-habitation), Jesus sees a person who is worthy of his time, grace, mercy, and love.
As our small group considered this interaction, I asked, “What do we learn about Jesus from this story?”
One of the ladies in the group said, “He sees me.”
Wow, what an insight!
In John 4, Jesus was fully aware of the woman’s past and fully aware of all the social boundaries he was crossing when he struck up a conversation with her. He saw all of that.
And he looked past that, so that he could see her.
And what Jesus saw was a person made in the image of God – and because of that – a person of inherent worth and value to God.
He saw her as God saw her.
As a result, he offered forgiveness and love and salvation and purpose.
“He sees me.”
But our discussion didn’t stop there. Our group then began to consider the fact that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are expected to see others the way Jesus does. Just as Jesus did, we are called to look beyond the differences we have with others so that we can “see” what we have in common. And what we have most in common is that we all come from the same Creator and are intended to live in a reconciled relationship with that Creator.
I was reminded of how difficult this can be when I saw a friend’s (who considers himself a Christian) post on Facebook that said, “A man with a MAGA hat came into work today. Thankfully everyone was too busy to help him so he left.”
This is a classic example of judging someone solely by appearances (in this case, a hat that makes a certain political statement) and refusing to extend the grace of Christ to that person as a result of personal bias and prejudice.
Sadly, I’ve been guilty of the same type of offense.
And this is not how we as Christians should be.
While it is comforting to know that Jesus sees me and cares about me in spite of my flaws, the truth is that unless I am willing to take that same approach with others, I don’t fully understand what it means to be “seen” by Jesus.
Jesus “sees” me so that I can truly see him in order to be transformed by him, which changes how I “see” others so that I can help others see the Jesus who can transform them too.
But if I insist on seeing others through society’s divisions and thus withhold the grace of Christ as a result, not only am I missing what Jesus is wanting to do in my life, but the other person is missing out on the love of Christ that I could have made known to him or her.
“He sees me.”
But do you see Him?