I love reading the gospels, especially the stories of how Jesus singles out people for his personal attention. Despite the crowds that surrounded him throughout his ministry, he stopped to restore the life of a widowed woman’s dead son (Luke 7:11-15). While traveling through Jericho, he noticed Zacchaeus up in a tree and went to his house for dinner (Luke 19:1-6). On a journey to Jerusalem through Samaria, he spent time with a woman who was isolated by her past (John 4:4-12). While on his way to heal the daughter of a temple official, he noticed the touch of woman who had been bleeding for 12 years, and paused to heal her (Mark 5:25-36). If you read these passages of scripture, you find that the people in these stories were changed forever by their encounters with Jesus… because he noticed them.
Jesus notices even me… and you!
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (emphasis added)
Do you feel like Jesus has noticed you? Maybe you’ve never felt like he has, nor anyone else. Or maybe you’re an ‘up front’ person, who gets noticed all time; yet you are wondering if anyone looks beyond the extrovert front. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, we all have times when we wonder if anyone cares about us or what we are going through. In the stories above, and so many other examples in the gospels and throughout the Bible, God assures us of his loving care.
My story is one of growing up in church, then turning my back on it all for 20+ years while Jesus waited for me to notice him noticing me. I can relate so much to what is happening in this passage.
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
That was me, a confused and helpless sheep. As I said last week, I masked my insecurity with bravado and bluster. It wasn’t until I got to the end of all that (the end of ME), worn out from keeping up with the false narrative I had claimed for my ‘story,’ that I was able to see Jesus, noticing me… ME! My encounter with Jesus one night — all by myself in my police car — changed me forever. Just like when Jesus noticed the widow, Zacchaeus, the woman by the well, the woman who had been ill for 12 years, and the temple official’s daughter, Jesus notices us. Jesus notices me. In all of human history, in each individual person’s life, Jesus drew them to himself with his love, compassion, and above all, his offer of grace.
Even on days when I feel lonely and alone, I know Jesus notices me. More than that, he loves me and has great plans for me. He offers me a life of good orderly direction; I no longer need to feel confused or helpless. Psalm 23 says that the Lord is my shepherd. He directs my life and provides for me. He leads me, defends me, offers me rest and safety. He notices me, and you! He has work for us to do!
Do you believe that Jesus notices you?
How has his attention changed your life?
This week, try seeking someone in your world who doesn’t seem to get noticed much. Figure out a way (that isn’t weird or creepy!) to engage them, maybe ask about and listen to their story.
Pray about starting a new Group, inviting people you don’t know to join. This experience will stretch you, and you will join Jesus in noticing “the crowds.”
Lord God, help me to see who you see, and say what you want me to say. I want to notice the people who feel that they have been invisible, because no one is invisible to you. Everyone I lay eyes on is someone who matters so much to you that you sent your precious Son to rescue them through his sacrifice. I willingly go into the harvest field, Lord. Send me! Amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people who God used to start CedarCreek 21 years ago, and was on staff until 2013. She and her husband Mike love to travel the country in their motor home with their kitties Jane & Mary. Lauri is passionate about prayer, and about helping women discover who they are in Christ. She doesn’t tweet but you can follow her and Mike’s adventures on Facebook.
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