Jaco Strydom of ECHO Youth Development writes: “We visited Kolkata (previously Calcutta) in India. Mother Teresa (see photo) said that she often saw Jesus in the eyes of the most vulnerable people in Kolkata. We also saw Him. We realized that there is something of God’s heart that you don’t find in beautiful cathedrals, the most touching spiritual music, the best of Christian books, not even in Bible study groups or at prayer meetings. It seems He chooses to reveal something of his heart through the poorest of the poor.”
Henri Nouwen attended a severely disabled patient, Adam, at an institution. Later Nouwen said: “I realised that in Adam, Jesus was coming to me again.”
An expert in the law asked Jesus: “What must I do to receive eternal life?” Jesus answered him, “What do the Scriptures say? … The man answered, ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbour as you love yourself.’ “You are right,” Jesus replied; “do this and you will live” (Luke 10:25 – 28). With these words Jesus says that to receive eternal life, you have to love God. But you must also put yourself in the shoes of people in need as if you are in that situation yourself.
Jesus died for our sins. The aim was to reconcile people with God and with one another. If we believe that, our deeds must bear testimony to it: For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without actions is also dead (Jas. 2:26). If we say that we believe in Jesus, we must take Him seriously. Then our actions must show that his death on the cross has changed us. Jesus asks us to empathise with all people in need. He tells us how it will be on his return. He’ll say to the believers: “Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world. I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes, naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me. I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!” (Matt. 25:34 – 40). Jesus told the expert in law that we must put ourselves in the shoes of people in need. Here Jesus goes even further. In order to receive eternal life we have to see Jesus in these people. What we do to them, we do to Jesus.
On Jesus’ return He will say to the non-believers: “Depart from me, you who are cursed…. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink…” (Matt. 25:41 – 46). That will be Jesus’ last talk to non-believers.
Lord, help us to see people the way You see them. Use us in your kingdom. Amen.