A People Watcher

Ask me what Jesus did in the temple and my immediate answer would be that He cleaned house, overturning tables, shutting down commerce, and evicting money changers (Mk. 11:15). Ask me, what else? And if I thought about it long enough, I might remember that He also taught in the temple. But that He sometimes was also in the temple just people watching? Nope, don’t think I would have come up with that. But He did.

And He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box.

(Mark 12:41a ESV)

Jesus sat down and watched the people. Jesus was/is a people watcher. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.

Somehow the Teacher got a break from teaching. A few moments when, rather than be surrounded by the crowd, He could sit off to the side and watch the crowd. Jesus, out of the spotlight, yet not out of the picture. Not commanding the center of attention, yet never ceasing to give attention to what was happening on the fringes.

I’ve done some people watching in my time. Not much in these “order from Amazon” days, but, in the days when the mall was the primary venue for merchandising, I occupied a bench on more than one occasion (usually because I was waiting on someone else to finish their shopping) and just sat and watched crowds go by and individuals interact. They did their thing unmindful of my watchful eye. No reason to be mindful of me, I was just a guy sitting on a bench.

But Jesus wasn’t just some guy sitting down opposite the treasury. He was the Son of God cloaked in flesh. The Word who created all things watching all the things He had created. Not just sitting there with little concern or thought for others, but the Omniscient One aware of all other’s thoughts. Off to the side, yet in the middle of everything.

That’s why He noticed her. The poor widow dropping her two small coins in the offering box. And why He knew that she had given “out of her poverty” and had “put in everything she had, all she had to live on” (Mk. 12:44b). She didn’t do it to be seen by anyone else, yet she was. Nobody appreciated the sacrifice she was making through the common act of tithing. But He did. She was invisible to everyone else. But not to Jesus.

Jesus, God fully God, is a people watcher.

For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the LORD, and He ponders all his paths.

(Proverbs 5:21 ESV)

You show steadfast love to thousands, but You repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the LORD of hosts, great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.

(Jeremiah 32:18-19 ESV)

And no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

(Hebrews 4:13 ESV)

He is a people watcher. Thinking that’s a good thing to keep in mind. Not for fear, but to be faithful. Not to perform, but to rest in that He is ever present.

His eyes ever seeing. His grace always sufficient. His glory the only goal.

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