The people who have been with Jesus were broken and yet found grace and forgiveness in their Lord. They experienced that Jesus was always loving and patient toward them and others, always kind, not wanting anyone to perish but for everyone to repent. They saw firsthand his intimate relationship with the Father, and through Him, they encountered God the same way. So they pursued God instead of spiritual growth, and out of that relationship came a powerful ministry that changed the world.
How do we become like them, like men who have been with Jesus?
Love others like Jesus.
How did Jesus treat Nicodemus, this intelligent Pharisee who was seeking eternal life in secret? How did Jesus react to the adulterous woman who was about to be stoned? How did he relate to Matthew the tax collector and his partying sinful friends? Or to Zacchaeus?
How about the paralyzed sinful man lowered by his friends through the roof? The Samaritan woman at the well and the sinful woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume? How did Jesus relate to the father who confessed his unbelief in miracles? How did Jesus treat the Pharisees and his disciples when their faith were little? And the beggars, the poor, the rich and mighty?
He loved on them, and the kind of love they experienced was so absurdly radical that people who hunger for that love were drawn towards him.
Certainly loving others is difficult, and honestly beyond our natural abilities to consistently accomplish. It’s a good thing Jesus didn’t expect us to do it on our own strength or strategies. That’s why Jesus first said, “Peace be with you” before adding “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.”
Then — then! — He gave them the Presence and power to accomplish his command.
Then He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22)
Reflect on this and take this to heart:
As someone who walks with Jesus and loves like Him, is there anyone He wants you to reach out today as His representative? Let Jesus breathe on you and let the Holy Spirit work through you.