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Devotion 12 - 17 March 2013

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1 John 12:21 - “...sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

What do People See?

One of the most emotionally uncomfortable experiences I have ever had happened when a group of us (students) were part of an exercise where everyone else had to describe each member of the group. In other words, the 7 other members of the group had to describe me, and I was not allowed to say anything.

Questions of how others see us, what they think of us and what their impression of us is, are questions that most of us find challenging (because most of us are concerned about what others think of us) – public image is of considerable importance to most people. We want others to regard us highly, to respect us, to say praiseworthy things about us, etc – there are very few people in the world who want to be disliked, I’d imagine.

The issue of what others see when they look at us is a burning issue and one that warrants much of our attention. In fact, this issue also gets most of our attention... Many of the decisions we make and actions we take, many of the words we speak and relationships we engage in are decided upon based on what others will think of us or how they will see us in light of such decisions, actions, words or relationships. This is a pretty standard and normal part of being human, and we should pay attention to such things.

However, as Christians, this issue and these sorts of questions take on a whole different meaning and becomes all the more pressing. Because we know that when others look at us – whether at work, at home, on the playground or wherever – people should see something very specific... others should see Christ in us!

In John 12:21 some people came to Philip, one of Jesus’ disciples, with a very specific request; they said “Sir, we would like to see Jesus.”

When people come to us, as Jesus’ disciples in this day and age, they come with the same request... sure they may not be able to articulate it or even be aware of it, but they all want the same thing... they want to see Jesus in us!

This is our responsibility as Jesus’ disciples today; it is our privilege and our duty. And that is precisely why the issue of what others see in us is such a burning one for Christians. It’s not just our own public image that we ought to be concerned about, but also what others see of Jesus in us.

As Christian we are called to present Christ to others... in our decisions, actions, words and relationships, let us make sure today that what others see in us is indeed Jesus. And only him!

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