“This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11
I met Jesus the other day. He asked me to come with him to see a man who was sick – dying maybe. A man who couldn’t walk anymore, who had pressure sores 12 cm wide across his spine, who people forgot to feed and whom no one wanted.
The room smelt revolting and I hesitated but Jesus walked straight in. He was carrying food for the man and he started by straightening up the room a little and giving the man something to eat. Jesus thought about me too and gave me some surgical gloves and a face mask.
Jesus had invited me because I am an expert with 17 years’ experience working with people with disabilities. But I had never seen anything like this before. Aside from disagreeing with the diagnosis the man had been given, I didn’t know what to do. I was utterly helpless.
But Jesus knew what to do. He began changing the man’s dressings and the man’s sodden bedclothes, something he came every two days to do. He started to clean the man’s wounds, taking away the old skin that had been replaced by new. And in between hisses of pain, the man in the bed asked him questions about the story he had just read in the Bible Jesus had given him. Jesus listened and answered him gently. I couldn’t always follow the answers because my language is sometimes a bit inadequate.
Jesus finished his work with fresh bandages. He asked me if I could do anything and I could see that he loved this man he served. I said I needed time to think and we left.
Of course it wasn’t really Jesus I was with. He was actually a rather short, dumpy 50 year-old with a murky past. I know him and his wife well since they took us, foreigners, under their wing. We laugh a lot together and drink tea. But that day all I could see was Jesus, and that man in the bed could clearly see him too.
“No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:12
The author is an Interserve Partner in Asia.
Teapot image courtesy Walt Manis