But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. John 12:37
My husband, Ron, is a seasoned Bible teacher. At the conclusion of almost every lesson, he prays for everyone before they leave. “Lord, help others see Jesus in us this week.” Now, he’s praying this with his eyes wide open, knowing the possible outcomes of what happens when unbelievers encounter Jesus in a believer. They are either warmed and move closer to Jesus or they are repelled and reject Him.
I do well to remember this as I’ve often possessed magical thinking. I’ve believed that if people could just see Jesus in me, they would love Him and want Him in their lives. But when Jesus was here in the flesh, John revealed that the opposite is true. When someone comes into contact with the Light of the world, the majority is offended by holiness. They feel exposed. Unclean. And then, angry.
This is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. John 3:19-20
Should I pray for others to see Jesus in me? Yes. I’m told to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led. My life’s purpose is to glorify my Father in heaven by the way I live. But I should also be aware that if someone sees Jesus and feels the impact, and they are an unbeliever, I shouldn’t be surprised by a combustible reaction. The very presence of Light in me will be felt by children of darkness. The more oppressed the person, the more violent will be his reaction to me. A simple business exchange at the dry cleaners, grocery store, restaurant, can become contentious because there is a ‘darkness and light’ undercurrent happening. Often, what we chalk up to a mysterious ‘rub’ is really two kingdoms colliding and giving off sparks.
The more I am Your image bearer, the more I will be despised. Just like You. Re-align my expectations. Amen