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Putting on your “SONglassses” and Seeing Jesus


Seeing Reflections of Jesus in the Community of Faith

Moody Aviation Hanger

 By Elizabeth Smith, associate professor of Children and Family Ministry

“This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus” (1 John 4:17).

On a recent Sunday morning, our oldest son preached at our church home. While my mother’s heart was rejoicing at the mere opportunity to see my child preaching God’s Word, my heart was touched by his message in a fresh way. He reminded us that a higher goal of our church family is to gather so we can see Jesus.

He said that if we want to know Jesus better, we need the body of Christ. I need you, as my brother or sister in Christ, to learn more about our Savior and to show me how to live like Jesus. I would even say that it is hard to see Him more clearly or love Him more dearly without you in my life!

Each of us who walks with Christ has the ability to display Him to others through words and actions. And because each of us is created with varied gifts and different personalities, my walk with Christ probably looks much different than how you exhibit Him in your life. Consequently, you teach me things about Jesus that I would not be able to see without knowing and interacting with you.

In my classes, I help Moody students learn to minister to children and families. They must learn to recognize and appreciate the unique needs of the children and families they serve. For example, it is helpful to realize that introverts might not display Jesus the same way an extrovert would.  An introvert might send a note of encouragement while an extrovert might welcome you with an enthusiastic hug.

Because your relationship with Jesus and the way He is demonstrated through your life looks different than the way Jesus works in me, you have the opportunity to show me Jesus in a way I might never see on my own.

Here are just a few ways I have seen reflections of Jesus in my own community of faith:

  • When I see Jesus in my friend who is much quieter than I am, I am reminded of how often Jesus went away by Himself to pray or sat calmly in a boat in the middle of a storm (Mark 4:35–41). This quiets my heart and brings me peace.
  • When I see Jesus in my friend who has the gift of hospitality or invites me to pray together, I am able to bask in the welcome God offers me to come into His throne room (Hebrews 4:16).
  • When I see Jesus in my friend who has been hurt by others yet shows great discernment and grace in responding to a difficult conversation, I see the kindness of Jesus on His way to the cross. Even then, He did not revile those who were persecuting Him, but instead showed great grace to those who didn’t deserve it (1 Peter 2:21–23). I am reminded that even though I don’t deserve it, I have also received the grace of God.
  • When I see Jesus in my friend who under great pain and sorrow loves with all her heart, I know Jesus loves me even more than her amazing example (John 3:16).

I could go on and on with the many good and excellent ways I have seen Jesus in those who love Him and show that love in godly ways. But I have also learned to see Jesus in the painful times. I have seen the faithfulness of Jesus when others are faithless to Him or unloving to me. I have seen the comfort of Jesus even at the side of a hospital bed where death has visited. It is not just the easy or comfortable relationships that show me Jesus. I believe all relationships are given by God to help me see Jesus or seek Him more.

It is my prayer that we not be blind to Jesus. May we seek Him out and not miss how He is showing Himself to us, especially in our church families. To see Jesus in others so brightly, we need our SONglasses!

Elizabeth Smith is an associate professor and program head of Children and Family Ministry at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

Moody Student: Sarah


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