Called to Worship – Issue #17
by Phil Mershon
Have you heard this joke?
A burglar breaks into an empty house. He’s carefully stowing away his newfound treasures when he hears a voice, “Jesus is watching you.”
Startled, he looks around for the source. Not seeing anyone he continues looting the house. Then he hears it again, “Jesus is watching you.”
Trembling with fear, he stumbles upon a birdcage. He looks at the parrot which stares back and boldly says, “Jesus is watching you.”
No longer afraid, the burglar says, “Yeah, right! And who are you? Jesus?”
“No. I’m Peter. Jesus is the dog.”
Suddenly the burglar hears heavy footsteps and panting. He turns to see a large German Shepherd blocking his exit and then the bird shouts, “Sick him, Jesus.”
I love even more the picture Isaiah paints of Jesus in Isaiah 53. Jesus is the lamb who silently went to the slaughter because I am a sheep who continually goes astray. Jesus was despised and rejected by the very ones he came to save. Jesus was counted among the transgressors so that I might be counted among the righteous. Jesus bore my sins and makes continual intercession for me.
Try praying through Isaiah 53. You may need to read it once to get the context, but then replace “he” with “you” and replace “we” with “I” or “me.” This greatly personalizes the impact of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
Then linger on those last words, “(he) makes intercession for the transgressors.” (Is. 53:12). Hebrews 7:25 shows Jesus making continual prayers for us at the Father’s right hand. It’s hard to imagine him doing that for those who sent him to his painful death, but that’s how much he loves us.
Now he is truly watching us like that guard dog. His eyes never leave us—sometimes, even when we wish they would! It can create momentary discomfort and shame to realize that Jesus has seen every “secret” thought, dream or action. But the discomfort lifts as we realize that his gaze hasn’t averted. He looks at us with love and compassion.
I’ll never forget standing before that judge. I had been caught going 55 mph in a school zone in the small town of Empire, Colorado. The district attorney struck a plea bargain, but I still had to appear before the judge. Asking for my plea, I humbly declared, “Guilty.” Then he looked at me. It wasn’t compassion that I saw, but scrutiny. Like he was wondering, “What else has this guy done?” I saw all my sins flash before my eyes and was glad this guy couldn’t see that screen.
That’s not how Jesus looks at us. His eyes are filled with tears and knowing compassion. He’s not blind to our sin, but he looks past it because they have been paid for. He sees a sinner in need of restoration. I can’t run from that gaze. How about you?
Sounds of the Gospel:
I love this reminder from Casting Crowns in Who Am I:
Not because of who I am,
but because of what you’ve done.
Not because of what I’ve done,
but because of who you are.
You are More by Tenth Avenue North is also a great reminder of what God sees in us.
How do you respond?
Please share your thoughts below.