The Boldness of Knowing Jesus
To Know Jesus, Biblically
The triune God has revealed himself preeminently in Jesus Christ. And his testimony is the organizing principle of Scripture. We should know him there.
The Bible is the story of God’s glory and grace that stretches centuries and cultures and literary genres, all pointing to and holding up the definitive witness of Jesus — who is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14), the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature (Hebrews 1:3), the Lamb who was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), in whom all the fullness of deity is pleased to dwell (Colossians 2:9), who upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus reminded his disciples that everything written about him in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled (Luke 24:44–45). Peter said that God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets that his Christ would suffer (Acts 3:18). Paul said that the gospel mystery of Jesus was made known through the prophetic writings (Romans 16:25–27). From Genesis to Revelation, the Book is about Jesus. That’s the point in the Redeemer mentioned in Genesis 3 who would come to crush the serpent (Genesis 3:15). That’s why God promised Abraham that through his offspring all the peoples of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1–3). That’s why he told Moses that there would be a prophet like him who would rise up in Israel and speak his word (Deuteronomy 18:15). That’s why God told David that he would have a son who would be enthroned as King forever (2 Samuel 7:16), a King to whom Solomon still looked and the prophets eagerly proclaimed.
The Redeemer, the Son, the Prophet, the King — he’s the one the whole world longed for. And then he came. Born in Bethlehem, in a stable, the promised one came. And he lived the perfect life, tempted in every way we’ve been tempted, yet he never sinned. He trusted his Father and was faithful to the end, to the point of death, even death on a cross. On a cross. A cross where he suffered in the place of sinners, where he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. The cross of his condemnation brought us peace. The scene of his forsakenness became the grounds to our adoption. Jesus, by faith in him, reconciles us to the Father. Jesus makes us no longer enemies, but sons and daughters. No longer dead in Adam and destined for wrath. But now, because of Jesus, we are alive in him, alive to God, filled with his Spirit, and drawn into this very story of his glory.
Practically, this means we read the Bible. Jesus’s people are Bible-people. Let us read it through, and study it, and memorize it, and every time we open its pages breathe this prayer with our hearts: “Show us Christ.”
To Know Jesus, Personally
We want to know Jesus theologically and biblically because we know him personally, and in order to know him more personally. We can’t extract any of these perspectives if we’re to really know him, and especially not this one.
If we focus exclusively on the theological side, it could become all about not falling into error. If we focus exclusively on the biblical side, it could dwindle down to a cerebral exercise of one exegetical discovery after another for the sake of exegetical discovery. But if we know him personally, the uncreated Son is the one who saved us. The Suffering Servant is the one who suffered for my sins. The priest after the order of Melchizedek is the one who prays for me, who knows all of my failings and weaknesses and who never tires to plead for me. If we know him personally, he is not just the Jesus of theological categories, or the Jesus of canonical testimony, he is Jesus my Lord and my God. Jesus, our Savior.
Practically, this means we commune with him as we learn of him. It means we think about Jesus and we talk about Jesus. It means we love him.
This is the joy we have been saved to, that we know Jesus, and in knowing him, live in outspoken clarity about his identity and significance.
This is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. (1 John 5:11 NIV)
It entirely depends upon our apprehension of the Lord as to what our testimony is. If we are turning to teaching, to tradition, to interpretations, to human associations, to Christianity, we are going to miss something, but if we are turning to the living God, in the realization that He is the living God, we are going to come into Life; everything is going to be all living in our experience right from the beginning. It is not unnecessary to say a thing like that. We said at the outset we wake up, and some of us awoke too late. The thing that kept us asleep – though we did not know we were asleep, except that there was a restlessness, a sense of dissatisfaction, a turning from side to side, and a sighing and groaning – the thing that kept us asleep, was the fact that we had been associated with Christianity and the things of the people of God from so early in our lives. Our Christianity and our relationship with the Lord was something into which we were brought in infancy, and it had all become a matter of a system of the things of the Lord around us, with which we were quite familiar. We had been taught to say prayers, and go to meetings, and so on. One day we awoke to the fact that this God was a living God. We had been associated with Him in a way for a long time, but He was not personal to us – He was not a living God.
Forgive me for going back to such an elementary stage, if it is necessary to ask forgiveness, for it is just possible there are some among us whose relationship is of that kind. Maybe you are associated with things related to the Lord, but what about this question of your own personal, inward enjoyment of the living God, of His really being to you a living Person? We must begin back there, and all this is nothing to you unless the Holy Spirit has made it real, or does make it real, in your experience. I do know that it is true to fact in the life of a great many, that the day comes when, though they have been associated with the things of the Lord for a long time, they suddenly wake up to the fact that the Lord is a living Person. That contains so much for us as we come to realize it. It means everything to us from every point of view. We are the Lord’s now! We know the Lord!
Do You Know Jesus Christ?
Many have heard of Jesus and know a little about Him.
Many sing songs about His birth at Christmas and know that Easter commemorates His resurrection. Some think of Him as a teacher or perhaps the founder of a major world religion. But, do you know Him personally? Do you know that Jesus died and rose again, not to start a spiritual movement but because He loves you and wanted to provide a way for you to know Him?
The Bible tells the story of God’s love for people. In the beginning, God created us to reflect His image and to have a relationship with Him (Genesis 1:27). We were created good, and then sin entered the world. We essentially chose to try life on our own without God, instead of living our lives for God as we were designed.
God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins and bring us into a relationship with Him. Through Him, we can know the promise of eternal life and experience the joy of knowing God here on earth!
If you would like to have a relationship with God, the Bible tells us that the first step is acknowledging that we have sinned and that there is nothing we can do to earn God’s love (Romans 3:23-26). Next, we believe and confess that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9) and allow Him to guide our lives. Where we once wanted to control our own futures, we now invite Jesus into our hearts to be Lord over our lives.
Knowing God’s peace, perspective, and purpose for your life begins with a personal relationship with Jesus.
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. – Romans 14:17 NASB
Men and women are filled with stress; it’s a common problem. They may complain but many will not make changes that might reduce this stress.
According to recent research, given the choice, only 8% would work fewer hours if this meant less stress. In contrast, 38% are willing to work more hours for more pay, even if this means more stress. Many simply have reached the conclusion that stress is a “price to pay” to be successful; it just “goes with the territory.”
Christians are not immune from stress. We allow stress to infect our lives in many ways. Stress comes from worries about finances, conflicts in our relationships, uncertainty about our choices, fears about world conditions, and many other areas.
The Bible promises that God wants us to have victory over stress. Paul reminded the Romans that Christians are not to focus on “eating and drinking.” Rather, we are to focus on God’s kingdom. This means focusing on “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
This focus gives us balance and proper priorities. We can concentrate on doing what is right. We can be filled with peace because we trust completely in God. We can have joy because we serve Him and draw on the joy of His Spirit.
Are you filled with stress? Burdened by worries? Focus on God and His kingdom. Trust Him. Commit your needs to Him. Let Him give you His peace.