You can tell a lot about a person by his effect on others. What is Jesus like to be around? What is the aftertaste he leaves in your mouth? Is this someone you’d want to take a long car ride with? We saw Zacchaeus’ reaction. Here are two more, from people quite different from each other and from Zacchaeus:
One of the Pharisees asked him over for a meal. He went to the Pharisee’s house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume. (Luke 7:36–38 TM)
No comment of mine could add to the beauty of this moment. Nor to this one:
Two others, both criminals, were taken along with him for execution. [...] One of the criminals hanging alongside cursed him: “Some Messiah you are! Save yourself! Save us!” But the other one made him shut up: “Have you no fear of God? You’re getting the same as him. We deserve this, but not him—he did nothing to deserve this.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you enter your kingdom.” He said, “Don’t worry, I will. Today you will join me in paradise.” (Luke 23:32–43 TM)
What is stunning to see in these brief accounts is that people who knew themselves to be anything but holy found the holiness of Jesus winsome, open-armed, and utterly compelling.
Is this how you have understood holiness?
It changes everything when you do.