Imagine with me for a second that one of your friends is blind. This friend has been blind since birth, so he has never seen anything ever. This friend is completely dependent on you to describe everything to him. He can’t see the tree, so you have to tell him there are leaves and branches hanging off it. He can’t see the high-rise, so it’s up to you to tell him about the grid of windows stretching up from the ground. But while you’re describing the world to him, you soon come to a startling realization.
How are you going to describe color to this individual?
After all, you need to tell him that the leaves are green; that’s fundamental to the concept of a leaf. You need to tell him about the fiery orange in a sunset, because what’s a sunset without it? He needs to know these things but...what is green or orange to this individual? He’s never seen a leaf. He’s never taken in a sunset. He has no way of grasping the concept of color.
His knowledge is limited to what his friend can see. You’re completely ignorant of the concept of orange until you see something that’s orange.
The spreading of Jesus’ love works the exact same way.
You can tell a person that Christ loves them, and he will know that Christ’s love exists. However, knowledge is starkly different from relationship, from experience. The color illustration works here too.
If you tell a blind man that purple exists, congratulations, he knows that purple exists. But he is still unfamiliar with it.
You can hear about Christ’s love for you, but until you feel, until you experience it for yourself, you don’t truly know it. To some, the love of Jesus Christ is as foreign a concept as a rainbow to a blind man. It just doesn’t compute. It would be like if I asked you to think up a brand-new color. You simply can’t do it, no matter how extensive or creative your imagination is.
You’re limited to what you have seen.
At Jesus’ last meal with the 12 disciples, He had just a few things left to say to them before His time on earth was over. One of these things was how people would come to recognize them as His followers. To this Jesus says, “They will know you are my disciples by your love.”
On January 8, 1956, Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Pete Fleming, Ed McCully, and Roger Youderian were killed in an Ecuadorian jungle while trying to minister the gospel to the Huaorani tribe there. After their deaths, the families of the fallen missionaries maintained relations with the very tribe that killed their husbands and fathers. Through those relations, many natives in that area came to know Jesus.
This tribe was completely remote and secluded, shut away from the world. They might have known that there was a whole outside world, or possibly even that Christianity was a religion out there. But it wasn’t until five Christians walked along that riverbank and willingly sacrificed themselves that the tribe truly experienced who Jesus is and the love He has for us.
The beautiful and freeing thing about the love of Jesus is it transcends all barriers. It is truly boundless. The blind man who can’t see color can experience Jesus’ love in a deep and meaningful way. Those five brave men could not adequately communicate with those native people, and yet, gospel seeds were still planted that day. Through the actions and lives of His followers, the lost and broken can experience the real Jesus Christ, and that is more beautiful than all the colors combined.