Today I was reading some of the news from around the world, and I understand why some Christians avoid it. There is very little good news on the news, whether it’s local, national, or worldwide. Terrorists, murderers, child abusers, spouse killers, thieves, robbers, the news is full of stories about them. I use the daily news as a prayer guide, that’s the only reason I keep reading it.
Sometimes we look at the world and people in the world in the light of prophecy, knowing one day God will blast all those ungodly people and their ungodly works to smithereens. Sometimes we wish that day would hurry up and get here.
But Jesus looked at people differently from the way most of us do.
One day Jesus needed to go through Samaria to get where he was going, according to John Chapter 4. Not a terribly interesting place, there was nothing particularly interesting about having to go through Samaria, to me. But to Jews?
No Jew needed to go through Samaria to get where he was going. In fact, he went miles out of his way to go around Samaria. He even crossed to the other side of the Jordan River to avoid Samaria and Samaritans.
But Jesus saw Samaritans as individuals needing help, spiritual help that only He could bring them. Therefore he needed to go there, and He did. He went, talked to a Samaritan woman (not just a Samaritan, but a Samaritan woman!), brought the gospel of the Kingdom to her and through her to many other people.
Zacchaeus was a wealthy man in Jericho, a chief tax collector. (Luke Chapter 19) That’s probably where he got all his money, don’t you think? Nobody likes tax collectors, especially Jewish tax collectors who work for the Romans and take a cut from everything they can gouge out of their fellow Jews. To make matters worse, Zacchaeus was short. He got no respect, but then he probably didn’t deserve any. That’s how most people would look at him. But Jesus looked at him differently.
Zacchaeus was curious. He wanted to see who this was coming his way, but the crowds wouldn’t let him through. So, putting his wealthy businessman’s dignity aside, he climbed up in the sycamore tree. Jesus looked up and saw him, not the way we would see him, but as someone who needed spiritual help that only He could bring him.
Jesus knows all the gloom-and-doom prophecies by heart but he sees the world as individual people who need help. He goes out of his way to get to them, to help them. He told the disciples to pray for the lost, not to condemn them. Not to hope that judgment would fall on them, but that mercy would fall on them.
We need to look at the world through Jesus’ eyes, especially when we read the news!