Seeing Jesus is seeing us
In a very meaningful sense, not just spiritually but physically, seeing the church is meant to be an experience of seeing Jesus - later in John in chapter 17 Jesus says this as he prays for the church “I ask not only on behalf of these (that’s the disciples), but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word (that’s us), that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23)
Also in 1 Cor 12 Paul says this Just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. (1 Cor 12:12)
And v27 You are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Cor 12:27)
The Church represents Christ, not only as the credible evangelist of his life and teachings but also as a sign of his living presence and his permanent presence among his people. The Church confesses him in faith, speaks about him in teachings, celebrates him in worship, imitates him in our attitudes and interactions, calls upon him in prayer, desires to share his compassion, seeks his will, and loves him and one another, with a pure love (John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”)
Wow! See us see Jesus? The church is there so that others might see Jesus. Not just in our actions, what we do, but in our interactions, in our relationships. Paul and many of the New Testament writers are at pains to reiterate the importance of the Church being unlike the outside world. Not denying it’s problems and difficulties, but dealing with them in grace and with love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Our relationships are to be forgiving, we are to live in servanthood and willing to grow in becoming more like Christ as we represent His body on earth.
And growing more like Christ is about each and every one of us as well. When people see us they will need to see Jesus. Our difference will be a sign to them of Jesus making a difference, “seeing him”, in our lives.
Now I know you are thinking this is all a bit daunting. Am I wrong? Well I think exactly the same as you. I can’t do that. They’ll never see Jesus in me. I’m too selfish, unforgiving (you may add whichever faults apply to you - but I bet it’s not as long as mine).
But I want to ask a question of you. Can you think of a person who was part of your coming to faith? Someone who you had a relationship with who was instrumental in your early faith journey and accepting Jesus as your lord and saviour. Well… Do you think they were perfect? If they are still with us you might be able to ask them whether they feel they are a good representation of Jesus and I bet I know what the answer will be. I’m sure you do as well.
We perceive that we are too bad, not good enough, but that is wrong on two counts. First the best way the enemy can stop you from showing people Jesus is by convincing you of that very fact. You are not up to it. Secondly, what you think of yourself is never ever the same as what the other person does. Their view can be bad, and we may have experienced those people, but most of the time it’s good. Trust me, if you are open, honest, respectful and loving in your relationships they will think very highly of you and therefore see Jesus in you. Oh and actually I’ve thought of a third… God has constituted the church to represent Jesus and He knows more than anyone that we are not perfect. So does God make mistakes? At times we might think so but Nah He doesn’t.