The Eyes of Jesus
"Let these eyes be on you which were also on Christ Jesus." Philippians 2:5
Okay, so that's not how the verse goes. Hopefully I have your attention now. This is not about the color of Christ's eye (though I'm pretty certain they were not blue). Instead this is about the dramatic portrayal of Christ and the compassion found in His eyes.
The New Testament is replete with examples of Christ seeing and being moved to compassion (Matt 9:36; 14:14; Mark 6:34; Luke 7:13; 10:33; 15:20). Compassion is rooted deep in the ministry of Jesus. This ministry of compassion is reminiscent of Pharaoh's daughter looking upon Moses and saving him (Exo 2:6). Perhaps in a way that seems strange to think-with-your-heart types, godly compassion seems inextricably linked to our eyes. The ultimate example being Jesus' interaction at the death of Lazarus,
33 Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. 34 And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
35 Jesus wept. 36 Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”
37 And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man from dying?” (John 11:33-37, KNJV)
A passage and concept so familiar perhaps we've lost the interesting connection between seeing, compassion and tears. This is not to deny compassion can exist without seeing. However, the connection here seems intimate and organic. Tears are the universal sign of sadness, emotion and dare I say complete heart-breaking compassion. Jesus knew the condition of Lazarus prior to arriving in Bethany (John 11:11-15). He even gave a clear exposition of the resurrection over death (John 11:21-27). Yet upon seeing the heart broken people He Himself broke. His spirit groaned and He wept. Perhaps this explains how we can know certain things but not be moved (or broken) until we see. Perhaps this teaches us the importance of seeing in ministry.
Phone calls, e-mails, and social media are all valuables things but all deprive our eyes (admittedly videos and pictures are an exception). I put forth then they by necessity limit and hinder our compassion. Seeing requires us to be with people. Seeing provokes us to touch them. That's what Christ communicated in a ministry where He saw, had compassion, and touched the untouchables.
I'll conclude with a paltry example. On a recent Sunday morning I saw a mother have wine (perhaps grape juice) spilled on her by her daughter. There was a rush to clean up the spill (I don't know if any dresses were harmed in the making of the example). Then I saw the mom's eyes and her tender smile. I knew how I would have reacted to such a thing: compassion-less or at the very least frustrated. In that mom's eyes I saw Christ. A look of compassion that reverberated in my mind. I wasn't even the recipient. Can you imagine how Christ's eyes must have looked? What would it feel like to see Him weeping over you?
Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22, NASB)