Hi, my name is Drew. I’m a pastor here in Midtown Manhattan. But I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. And since I was a kid, there’s a longing that has stayed with me. And it’s really a longing to be noticed, to be someone who’s seen. And so growing up, I had three brothers, one of which was a twin brother. And so being one of four boys, vying for the attention of my parents was always something that I wanted to do. I wanted to be someone who was seen for who I was. But not only that, being an ethnic minority in the neighborhood that we grew up in, who wasn’t particularly good looking and who wasn’t particularly cool, I really longed to be noticed and not to be noticed for my accomplishments. And so much of the world notices people for what they’ve accomplished or what they’ve done. Not to be noticed by some sort of veneer of who I am.
I know that in today’s world, so much of the things that get people noticed in social media, whether it’s TikTok, or Instagram, or LinkedIn, is basically just a shadow of what a person truly is. I think there’s a longing inside me, and perhaps a longing inside you and inside all of us, to simply be seen and noticed. I’d love for you to check out this video. This is a video of Asian Americans who are actually paired with one of their parents to actually begin to notice and see one another as adults. Check out this video:
[1:34 Drew Hyun shows a short video here from the Jubilee Project to illustrate a point.]
Being noticed or seen. There’s something so beautiful and marvelous about simply being seen — not for what you’ve done, not for some social media image, but to truly be seen and noticed.
You know what’s so interesting about the story of Scripture? It actually starts when God creates the entire world and creates men and women. And men and women, they fall into sin, and it’s called “the Fall.” And immediately after that in Genesis chapter three, God asks this question that reveals His heart in such a marvelous way: God asked the question of Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” And that question is a question. Of course, God is omniscient. That’s what we believe and know about Him. But why is that question there in the text? It’s there to reveal that God has always been a God of pursuit — someone who’s looking and seeing and noticing. And this actually exists also in the ministry of Jesus.
And one of the most beautiful things about Jesus — have you noticed this? — Jesus could have healed every single blind person just by lining them up and just snapping His fingers. But instead, there’s this unique way that Jesus heals each individual person with such a uniqueness and a tenderness. Why does He do that? It’s not the most efficient way. Business gurus would wonder, “Jesus, why do you waste your time with each individual person?” It’s because Jesus, who is God Himself, is in the business of really seeing and noticing.
You know, there’s this passage in Luke chapter seven, where Jesus, it says in the text, he looks and he sees. He saw this widow. It says he saw her and his heart goes out to her. I love that little detail that’s given in the text about how Jesus is noticing this widow, someone who the world has forgotten.
There’s this exchange that Jesus has in Mark chapter 10 with a rich young ruler. They have this back-and-forth about how to inherit eternal life. And then there’s this moment where it says Jesus looked at him and he loved him. I love that. He looks at him; He sees him. He doesn’t see the person who everyone else sees, the veneer, the social media image. He sees the real person and he loves him. Time and time again. In Mark chapter five, there’s a bleeding woman where Jesus goes and he looks after this woman. Time and time again, Jesus is in the business of looking and seeing. And it just continues what the heart of God has always been for His people: to see people not by what they’ve accomplished, not by this veneer of who they are, but for truly who they are.
And for you today, the same Jesus — the same God who created the entire universe, the same one who resurrected from the grave — is looking and seeing and noticing you, just as you are. Not by what you’ve accomplished. Not even necessarily by what you aspire to be. But simply you — who you are. Not by simply what you’ve done, but instead, just who you are. He notices you and He sees you.