Treat the next person you see as if they are Jesus.
That’s a principle that seems to show up often in the Bible. For example, Jesus says that when we treat well his brothers and sisters who are hungry, thirsty, sick, needing clothes, on the street, or in prison, we are doing the same to him. Paul uses this as the standard for how those known as Christians are to treat each other (“out of reverence for Christ”).
I think that in general we live up to this principle quite well.
Often we act ready to stone people, which is one of the options that people chose when seeing Jesus. Often we ignore people, which is another option often used. We expect people to save us. We want tricks with bread and fish and want ourselves at the center of their comfort delivery systems. We unexpectedly turn from adulation to assassination.
Indeed, we completely treat people as if they are Jesus.
We often get the principle wrong.
On the other hand, you know how we talk about the hero who does some great act of courage on behalf of others and then stoops to talk to a child? The gracious firefighter. The tender soldier. The millionaire who goes undercover, helps in the soup kitchen, and then writes a check for $20,000.
You know that kind of respect?
Perhaps we are invited to treat people with the kind of respect we would offer to Jesus if we saw the tender hero, the secret millionaire. When we have a glimpse of who Jesus is, the way we look at ourselves and everyone else is fundamentally transformed.
If I saw him in the mirror. If I treated you as a hero. We both might act quite differently.
You look good today, by the way.