Perception; September 15, 2021

Acts 1:14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

It is interesting to try to imagine the atmosphere in this prayer meeting. They were obeying what Jesus had said that Luke recorded at the very end of his first book: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) However, what was most different, I think, from previous gatherings was that Jesus’ mother and brothers were with them. My guess is that Jesus had appeared to the members of His genetic family individually after His resurrection the way He did for Peter. (Luke 24:34) What a shock that must have been! To know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your weird older brother, whom you thought had really flipped out, was actually the Son of God! I have a feeling that their previous attitude had a lot to do with something He said at the point He announced the start of His ministry: “I tell you the truth,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown.” (Luke 4:24) They were used to thinking they knew Him better than anybody, but now they were with a group of men whom He had chosen and trained, and those men knew Him better and deeper than they did. They certainly adjusted, however, and James eventually became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem, and Jude wrote one of the letters included in the New Testament, never calling Jesus his big brother but rather calling Him “Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Jude 1:25) We too tend to think of people from a strictly human perspective, rather than as God sees them. It’s like Paul said, “So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.” (2 Corinth­ians 5:16) We all need God to correct our perspective on people, even on ourselves. It won’t be until we are before God’s throne that we will be able to know ourselves and others with full accuracy, (1 Corinthians 13:12) but until that point we need to keep allowing the Holy Spirit to “correct our vision,” so to speak, so that we will see things more and more as our Father does.

I’ve certainly had this issue! I have both been conceited and had inferiority complexes about myself, and I have looked at others through a “fleshly filter” all too often. I have had people I thought were dear friends disappoint severely, and I have had people of whom I thought very little turn out to be God’s instruments. I need to remember that God sees all of our faults but loves us anyway, and also that all of our “good points” are no better than filthy rags before Him. (Isaiah 64:6) I am to walk in God’s grace that requires repentance, repenting of my own sins and allowing others to repent of theirs. I wonder how Jesus’ brothers felt about how they had sometimes treated Him? I think we all tend to feel that our perception of things is accurate, but that is manifestly not always true. I need to walk in genuine humility, allowing God to show me what is real, about people, about myself, and about the world around me, so that I will respond as He wants me to, for His glory.

Father, thank You for this clear reminder. It’s an interesting Word for my birthday! The world sees me as a “senior adult,” but in Your eyes I’m still just a kid! Help me indeed see myself and others as You do, to be Your agent of grace, blessing, and salvation itself, for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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