The other day I was driving through my city on a particularly chilly evening. As I was turning off the highway at an intersection, I saw a man outside of his car, reaching inside, trying to push his vehicle to the side of the road.
I kept driving.
That really sucks was the first thought that came to my mind. Should I stop? No, if I pull to the side of the road I’ll block traffic. I’m less than a block away at this point. It’s really cold and I’m not wearing gloves (yes, that legitimate thought popped up). Someone probably is helping him now.
I turned the next corner and kept driving.
Then the conviction really hit me. I just tried to justify not helping my fellow neighbor in a time of legitimate need. It was freezing outside. It was dark. His car was broken down. He was outside, by himself, struggling to push a car out of the way.
About a week ago I was starting to write this article, and up until tonight had written nothing. I didn’t have anything to write. I know what I wanted to say; I had a deep, theological analysis of what following Jesus should look like complete with bullet points, subject headers, and bold type font.
The Old Testament gives a foreshadowed prophetic word into what Jesus’ mission on Earth was to be. Isaiah 61 is the frequently turned to scripture to paint a picture of the awaited Messiah:
The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies— and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion, give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.
From this Scripture we can see a four-fold ministry that Jesus came to fulfill: (caution, bullet points coming)
- Preach the Gospel to the poor, the meek, and the afflicted.
- Healing and binding up the spiritually and physically sick and broken.
- Breaking the bonds of evil and proclaiming freedom from sin and satanic dominion.
- Opening the spiritual eyes of the lost that they might see the light of the Gospel and be saved.
My plan was to dive into these four points, and show how we as followers of Christ are to fulfill this mission by pointing others to Christ and letting Him work in their hearts. But what my conviction has taught me is that it’s so much more simpler than that:
If we are truly to be followers of Jesus, to complete the plan and purpose that He has for our lives, it can all be summed up to that simple truth.
When we love people, we will introduce the poor, meek and afflicted to the Gospel and Jesus’ sacrifice for our salvation. When we love people, we will pray for the physically sick to be healed and the emotionally broken to be restored. When we love people, we will look to Jesus to break the bonds of evil and free us, and others, from sin. When we love people, we will strive to lead them to the one who can open their eyes to see their Savior.
What does loving people look like?
When we love people, we will help them push their cars. We will invite them to church. We will take them flowers when they’re in the hospital. We will be their shoulders to cry on. We will be their cheerleaders, support system, and biggest fan.
Remember this, our job is not to provide the healing, redemption from sin, and salvation that the Gospel provides. We, as followers of Christ, are to introduce them to the One that can; Jesus.
“Then those [people] are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’
“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of
these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’