By Ben Girdler
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” -John 20:29
The sun was barely visible over the horizon as I walked with my brother James and father Zebedee towards our boat. We passed many other men as they began another day of work. As we walked by I could see their eyes, each mans distant, tired, and lacking emotion.
Then… a rabbi I had only seen once before came over and said to my brother and me, Come, follow me, and be my disciples.
Immediately, we left everything behind and went with him.
You may wonder why we left our old life behind, but you have to understand, this man Jesus, he was a rabbi. But more importantly, you cant understand because you never looked into His eyes. His eyes were different than the eyes of other men; even other rabbi did not have eyes like His. They were not distant like most men or proud like the rabbis. They were warm and inviting, full of love.
After looking into his eyes you had no choice but to follow him. His eyes always reflected love, even when throwing the moneychangers from the Temple. He did that out of his love for the Gentiles, so they too could worship Him.
And when He was on the cross, in one of His final moments before death, His eyes spoke of the love He had for His mother and His friend John. His eyes were always able to see the true people hiding from the world. He saw people for who they really were and what they really needed.
I had this dream about six years ago while in Oregon. For a while, it made me wish I had been around to actually see Jesus – you know, walk with Him, eat dinner at that mutton joint in Galilee with Him, watch Peter walk on water, see the crucifixion and His sacrifice for us actually carried out.
I wanted that, but knew Id never get it. I must have thought it would have made me a better Christian to have been there and seen Jesus.
I was wrong.
I thought that would have been the best way to get to know Jesus and see His love carried out. But I realized that I have seen His love and seen His eyes more times than I can count. I saw it in the eyes of a Chinese student in Beijing, asking questions about how to lead his house church to glorify God in the best possible way.
I see it in my friend Sarah as she takes care of her four kids, goes to school full time to be a special-ed teacher, and always has an open house and hot meal for anyone that needs to talk or have a compassionate person who will listen and understand. Jesus is in my friend Tom, always willing to push me on my beliefs and talk through any struggles I may be going through.
I can see the love of Christ in believers everywhere. God wanted us to rely on not just the Bible but also on each other to help teach about His love and mercy and compassion. He set up this life so that we need God most, and other people are a close second. Why else would the greatest commandment be to love God and love others?
Life is about loving others and, in doing so and seeing other people love one other, I see the love of Christ and am a better Christian because of it.
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Ben lives in Tucson, AZ studying sociology and writing. He even works full time when it doesnt interfere with writing the stories God puts on his heart to share with the world.