A couple I know well recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. The husband had shared with me a couple of times how he met his wife. Each time he told this story, it was always with smiles and grins of excitement. He was a clerk in the bank at that time and his wife was a student who had an account with the bank. According to him, “When Elizabeth my wife, walked into the bank with two of her friends, I looked directly at her and scanned her from head to toe in her long maxi dress and fluffy afro natural hair. Just that one look, I knew she was my wife”
As funny as this may sound, the reality is that just “one look” is sufficient sometimes.
The bible is filled with many stories of people who encountered Jesus just once and their lives never remained the same. The woman with the issue of blood knew perfectly that Jesus was so powerful and would solve her problem if she could just have that one encounter. She knew that touching the hem of Jesus garment once was enough for a permanent healing.
So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe, for she thought, “If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.” Matthew 9:19-21 NLT
This was also the case in the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well. The bible recorded that Jesus was meeting the Samaritan woman for the first time and despite the common taboo of Jews not mingling with Samaritans, Jesus was clear that he did not need to meet her more than once before he could relate with her. The all-knowing Jesus already understood that her past had nothing to do with her future.
When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” John 4:7–10
Just like the Samaritan woman, who did not expect to be accepted just at a meeting by Jesus, we also could fall into the wrong notion that we have to have more than one contact with Jesus before he can accept us. The thought of our imperfections and sin makes us feel unworthy to be loved by him. We think we need to show up more than once for Jesus to remember or love us, or rather, we sometimes assume that our good works will make Jesus love us more. Similarly when new converts are asked to say a simple believer’s prayer to accept Jesus, some feel a bit awkward about the simplicity of such prayers in accepting a big God. God’s love however is everlasting and has always been from first sight.
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations Jeremiah 1:5
As Christians, our goal is to take a cue from our Lord Jesus Christ in making a lasting impression. We are challenged everyday to make a positive impact in the lives of the people we meet even at first instance. While it is possible to have multiple chances to redeem images, more often than none, we meet people whose paths we might never cross again. However the way we make them feel could determine if they will accept the Jesus in our lives. Our lives are Bibles others read, and that could be the first book that is picked off the bookshelf.
Either it is the conversation with the passenger in the next seat on a flight, or the encounter with a total stranger in a mall or other public spaces. It could even be a phone conversation with someone we have neither met nor spoken to before. Whichever way we encounter others, we need to ensure that with just one look, the love of Jesus is shared across, so much that it can last in their lives for a lifetime.
For all we know, just an interaction with a person could determine their eternal fate.