Friend, if you are trusting in Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins and make you right in God’s eyes, there are so many wonderful things that are true of you.
If I were to address each of those truths, the length of this post would rival a large library. So, let’s focus on one truth that I came across in my time with God’s Word this morning.
Truth: When you became a follower of Jesus, your identity became intertwined with His.
Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (emphasis mine)
Did you notice that? As the Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the region of Galatia, he told them that Jesus was inside of him and was the One who was now living his life. At the moment that Paul trusted in Jesus to save him, his identity became intertwined with Jesus’ identity.
And this is true of you, my friend.
For instance, when God looks at you now, He sees Jesus. He doesn’t see a sinner who falls short of His perfect standard. He sees someone who has been forgiven and is wearing the righteous robes of Jesus. Because God sees Jesus when He sees you, He could not possibly be more pleased with you than He is right now, friend.
Another way that we can understand our intertwined relationship with Jesus is in how we treat others, specifically other Jesus-followers.
Truth: The way we treat other Jesus-followers is the way we are treating Jesus.
Notice that I said “the way we ARE treating Jesus.”
When I look at Scripture, this is so clearly taught. When we are kind to other Jesus-followers, we are being kind to Jesus because that person’s identity is intertwined with Jesus.
Matthew 25:34-40 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'”
Those words are incredible! Jesus, the King, told the believers who would inherit the kingdom that they fed Him when He was hungry, they gave Him something to drink when He was thirsty, they gave Him a place to stay when He was homeless, they gave Him clothes when He had none, they cared for Him when He was sick, and visited Him when He was in prison.
The surprised believers asked when they did this. They had no clue that they were being kind to Jesus.
Jesus explained: “…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (believers), you did it to me.”
Friend, when you are kind to fellow believers, you are being kind to Jesus. He is the one you are serving.
But, the opposite is also true. When we mistreat fellow believers, we are mistreating Jesus.
In my time in God’s Word this morning, I was reflecting on the truths of Acts 26. As I was reading that chapter, I was listening to the Apostle Paul’s defense before King Agrippa. He was now a believer but told Agrippa that he once persecuted followers of Jesus.
Listen to Paul as he recounted what he did to believers before he was a Jesus-follower.
Acts 26:9-11 “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.”
Paul was like a contemporary ISIS soldier. He despised Christians and did everything he could to lock them up or kill them.
But, as Paul was persecuting Christians, and since those Christians’ identity was tied up in Christ, who was Paul really persecuting?
Just listen to what Paul said next…
Acts 26:12-15 “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.’” (emphasis mine)
Jesus made it clear that when Paul was persecuting believers, he was also persecuting Jesus.
Friend, do you want to be kind to Jesus today? Then be kind to every believer you encounter.
Do you want to hurt Jesus today? Then mistreat fellow believers, even if you are only able to mistreat one Jesus-follower today.
Because how you treat other believers is exactly how you are treating Jesus.
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