Many individuals only see themselves through the eyes of other people. We construct our self-image in reaction to what others say to or about us. If we are wise, we learn early on that we cannot always trust other people’s assessments of us. Others’ perspectives can be insensitive, inaccurate, or even toxic.
Thankfully we can always trust God’s measure of us. How wonderful that many of the theological words we use to describe God’s relationship to us—words like grace, love, mercy, and salvation—remind us that God cares for each of us in the deepest, most loving way possible.
God’s love and care undergirds today’s reading. On the surface, Jesus is oddly skeptical and cautious around the Jerusalem crowds. We want to think that at least some of the many who believed in his name because they saw the signs he was doing would become sincere followers (v. 23). But Jesus knows not to trust them completely. He already understands that they will turn on him in the end and cry out for his crucifixion. In a similar way, he also knows that his death will be a sign of God’s love for the entire world, including those who will try to destroy him. Jesus does not need to survey the crowd to understand who he is. For that he looks to God.
God knows things about us that we will never share with anyone else, and God loves us anyway. As part of our spiritual journey, we must search for ways to accept God’s love and care for us, then apply God’s perspective to our own self-image.
God, you search us and know us. Give us a strong sense of your presence, that we might recognize your love, grace, and mercy in our lives this day. Amen.