By Pastor Nat Crawford
Do you ever see people as hurdles to your destination instead of image- bearing people of the Creator? I know I do.
I had a tight connection on a recent flight due to a delay. So, when I landed, I took off running as fast as possible. People were everywhere. I dodged some. I ignored many more.
I finally arrived at my gate and saw the word “delayed.” I looked over, and then my heart broke. I saw a crying mother holding her baby. She was a mess because of a canceled flight and needing to get home.
God softened my heart at that moment. I looked around the terminal, seeing people for who they were: God’s creation in need of Him. They weren’t obstacles. They weren’t distractions. They were the ones who God sent Jesus to seek and save.
In John 11, we find a familiar story. It’s the story of the death and resurrection of Lazarus. Starting in verse 31, we see Jesus’ surprising response to Lazarus’ death. It’s a
response we should have to the world and people around us.
When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled. And he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept (John 11:31-35).
The people come to Jesus. Mary and the people are mourning the loss of her brother. Her response is expected. But what about Jesus’ response?
John says that Jesus was “deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled.” Deeply moved has the idea of anger. Jesus was angered and troubled. Why? It’s two-fold. First, the people were mourning without hope. While their sadness was understandable, their hope for the resurrection stood in front of them. Jesus was their hope! Second, sin continues to kill and destroy.
Sin is why Jesus came. Sin is what God hates. Sin is the cause of fighting, illness, and death. It angered Jesus. And then, in verse 35, it says, “Jesus wept.” It broke His heart to see the ones He loved impacted by sin.
Jesus hated sin, and so should we. Jesus desired to see people rescued from the impact of sin. So should we.
We need God’s help to see people as Jesus saw them. We need God’s help to desire to see people rescued from sin as Jesus wanted. In 2 Kings 6, Elisha asked God to open the eyes of the servant. That should be our prayer too.
Today, ask God to give you eyes to see the world as He sees it. Ask God to provide you with eyes to see the lost and broken around you. Ask God to give you ears to hear their heart and need for Jesus. Ask God to provide you the discipline to see them as opportunities, not obstacles. And then ask for the power to meet them and share the love of Christ with them. Every opportunity is a gospel opportunity if we allow it.
Opportunity is everywhere. Lord, help us see it.