As you look over the title of this short article, you might well feel you treat your Savior Yeshua (Jesus) very well. After all, you worship Him formally each day and each week. You praise him and probably openly profess your love for him, but are you so sure the Son of God always feels loved and appreciated by you? Do we actually treat the Son of God with the respect, honor, worship and regard that we think we are – and should?
This might be eye-opening to some of you if you haven’t dwelt on this topic lately. I might even give this topic full attention in a sermon in the near future.
The members of the ekklesia—the called-out ones from the world – are called parts of the body of Christ. Paul says some are like the hands, the feet, the mouth or even the “unseemly parts” of the body of Christ – but all are needed. It would be a great review to read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. Paul concludes that section by saying when one part of the body suffers, all suffer. You see, we belong to one another, even as we belong to the Christ.
What does this have to do with how Jesus (Yeshua) feels when we are kind and do good to one another – or if we hurt, gossip about and attack one another? So here’s one way (there are many potential points) that shows how we’re actually treating Yeshua.
*** Yeshua loves God’s family very, very deeply. The way we treat Yeshua’s brothers and sisters will be the way He feels we are treating HIM.
Read that again and ponder it. Here are a couple of textbook examples of this.
Do you remember the story of when God called the Pharisee Saul (later called “Paul”) as he raced up the road to Damascus to imprison new Christian Jews? Remember the bright light and how Saul heard the voice speaking in Hebrew to him? Now do you remember what Yeshua said to Paul? Also Acts 26:12-18.
As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ME?"
And he said, "Who are You, Lord?"
Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
Where do we read any time that Paul had been persecuting Christ directly? It’s not there in scripture. Paul was persecuting the brethren – but not directly Jesus Christ. But Christ – Yeshua—took it very personally as Paul shackled, beat, imprisoned and humiliated new believers. Some even ended up like Stephen – dead.
If you stomp on my feet, I feel the pain – for my feet are a part of me. If you stab my back, I will not enjoy what you’re doing to me. It’s the same with Christ and how he feels about the way we treat his body, the believers.
My point is simple: when you and I gossip against brethren, when we hurt brethren by word or deed, when we selfishly forget to pray for one another or when we do things that show we disrespect and dishonor one another – Yeshua takes that personally. Start with your own family. If we stab a sister or brother – maybe a literal brother or sister or dad or mom – in the back, Christ takes it personally. When you holler at your wife, you’ve hollered at Christ.
Yes, I see myself in these things too. I’ve had to repent of unkind things I’ve done, apparently against my Savior. You see, WE – and other believers – make up the BODY of Christ. So as Paul punched, pummeled and shackled the brethren of the church, Christ himself felt like he himself was being punched, pummeled and shackled – by Paul. Hence his question, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting…ME?” And again, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,”
OK, so you don’t physically hurt other believers, but we do gossip. Some groups calling themselves a branch of the church of God refuses fellowship with other brethren. Some write scathing articles and letters against fellow believers and ministers. Please understand: the Son of God feels all that being said about HIM. That is why I personally don’t support or get involved in groups that attack other believers – often by NAME, and in print!
On the other hand, when we pray for one another, say encouraging things about one another, help one another, lift each other up and do everything in our power to leave a wonderful sense of joy and peace among the children of God – wow, we’re doing that to Yeshua the Son of God himself as well!
Another famous example of this is in Matthew 25:31-46, where Yeshua speaks of gathering everyone before him as sheep and goats. The “sheep” are the righteous who helped HIM when he needed help. They dug into their own pockets and bought some clothes for HIM when he was naked. They made sure HE had something to eat. When he was an awkward newcomer to the group, the sheep-type welcomed him and showed him around and introduced him to the others and made him feel at home.
The righteous “sheep” said they didn’t remember ever doing all that. Let’s read that part in Matthew 25:39-40 -- “Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'
So with that in mind, I praise, thank and pray for all of you for example, who help us with the orphan children in Kenya whose parents have died of AIDS. Our pastor over there has a poor church and he and his wife now feed and care for 30 children now – ages 7-17 now after all these years. Because of you righteous sheep, we’re even able to send them all to school the last few years – including their required uniforms, fees, dues, school lunches, shoes, supplies, etc. Not to mention their bedding, their well, a home, land – a new shot at a great life in a poor country. We do not wish to perpetuate the cycle of poverty often exacerbated by illiteracy. In fact many of our students there place in the top 5 of their class!
The Messiah is saying to you: “I was hungry, and you gave ME healthy food – when you made it possible for a bunch of orphans to realize there really are people who care for them. As you do it for them, I take that personally. Well done, well done, and I’ll make sure you have a great reward in my kingdom to come.”
But you see, it’s not just orphans in Kenya. It’s also about how we treat our fellow believers right here where we live, or in the other group over across town. It involves your literal dad, your mom, your brother and sister – I mean your siblings. This includes how we treat our husband or wife.
We are supposed to be the very embodiment of Yeshua walking here on earth through you and me. We are growing to look and be more and more like him. So when we’re hurt, we say –as HE did – “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” When we have an opportunity, we bless and share what we have.
We want to be a part of a ministry that leads people to love God and love each other – the two greatest commandments.
It is, in fact, this profound LOVE we have for one another that marks us as his disciples. You surely know the scripture – the one on John 13:34-35. This is why I want nothing to do with groups that often badmouth other believers and other ministers – except that God soften their hearts and open their eyes and lead them to become truly loving people.
John 13:34-35 – “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By THIS all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
Every group knows that passage, but few groups even come close to practicing it. Some do. Hallelujah.
Just think what we could accomplish as the body of Christ if we started celebrating the talents our heavenly Father has bestowed on each one and ENJOY each one letting God’s spirit flow out of them in good deeds and uplifting words. It would be a real life “Dream team” that would bring Father and Saviour great, great joy. That’s the way the church should be. We enjoy watching God’s people – all of them – using and maximizing what God’s spirit has given EACH ONE, without feeling envious or inferior.
Finally, there is the “measure for measure” principle. Our holy Master says that if we don’t forgive each other, he won’t forgive us either. If we do forgive each other, he will forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). Whom do you hate? Do you still have any grudges you hang on to? Don’t keep them in your heart.
Scripture is clear: if we are generous to the poor and needy, he takes that personally – and will be generous with us. He calls it “lending to the Lord”.
He says the standard we use against one another or to help one another is the exact same standard he will use on us in the judgment. Go read it yourself in Matthew 7:1-2.
So I think it would behoove us to be kind and forgiving of one another. Start at home with your wife or husband. Or your dad. Marriage and family relationships were given to us as such great training grounds to practice love, forgiveness, kindness and hope – even when we’re not always receiving all of that. It’s a great place to practice living in the Kingdom. I know I need a lot of forgiveness from God – so, I need to be compassionately forgiving you, my wife, my neighbor and all the other family of Christ I come in contact with. In fact, like Christ, we are to forgive even our enemies.
Here’s the first point again: However we are treating other fellow human beings, and especially fellow believers in the true God, is the way the Son of God will feel we are treating HIM.
Of course there are OTHER ways we show we love the Messiah. This next point is worthy of a whole sermon, but let me mention it: Christ also feels loved when we obey Him and his commandments – John 14:15 – “If you love me, keep my commandments.” This point meshes well with the other one actually.
John 15:12-14 --- “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.
John 14:15---"If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
So – a lot to ponder. How well are we treating Yeshua, the Messiah – the Son of God? Does he feel loved by you?