Notice I didn’t say how to know ‘about’ Jesus. The title is, ‘How to Know Jesus’. So, what’s the difference? Is there a difference? Does that difference make any difference? Okay, enough with the word ‘difference’. Except to say, it makes all the difference. Last time. I promise.
I can know ‘about’ our prime minister. I can know ‘about’ the Toronto Blue Jays. Next year baby! I can know ‘about’ Stephen Hawking. But I can only know people who I have a relationship with.
For example, I could settle for knowing about my wife, but that would be stupid. How much better it is to know her than simply reading a book about her. I am so glad I didn’t settle for only knowing about her.
Are you getting the idea?
Do we really know Jesus? Really know Him? What does it mean to know Jesus? I suggest three things:
First, we know Him from what we read about Him.
I know, there’s that word again – about. I’m not changing what I’ve said so far. But the first step in knowing someone is know about them. That’s where it must start. Unfortunately, most of us never go past that point when it comes to Jesus. I want more than that for you.
The best place to find out more about Jesus is the Bible. I often tell people if you really want to know Jesus, read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read then until they become part of you. Breathe them in. As you read, ask yourself, ‘what is Jesus like’.
A few years ago, I spent the entire year reading only those four books. Trying to find out what he is like as a man. What He values. How He treated people. How He relates to His Father.
Don’t misunderstand, I think all 66 books of the Bible are important and helpful. But remember this; the whole Bible points to Jesus. To reach our goal of knowing Him, concentrate on the first four books of the New Testament.
Secondary [not replacing] to that, there are some excellent authors who focus on knowing Jesus, not just knowing about Him. Max Lucado’s writing had a huge impact on me as a new follower of Jesus. I would recommend, Six Hours One Friday, A Gentle Thunder, God Came Near, and In the Grip of Grace.But I only recommend them as a supplement after spending time in the Bible.
We do not follow the Bible. We don’t worship the Bible. We love it because it directs us to the One who is everything. Jesus.
Second, we know Him by eating Him.
Wait. What? Say that again.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus said that very thing?
So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you. But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.
John 6: 53-56
That’s crazy! It’s this kind of talk that got Jesus killed. After Jesus said this, most of His followers left Him. This teaching was just too weird. So, before you think I endorse cannibalism and eating human flesh, let me tell you what I think He meant.
It’s clear Jesus wants us to eat and drink Him. That means to really get Him inside you. It’s another way of saying He wants you to know Him, not just know about Him. Not to simply understand the theology of the Bible, but to drink Him in. Inhale Him. Devour Him.
So how does that work? I have no idea. But here’s my best guess.
We need to believe that it is possible to have Him inside us. Really inside us. Believe it is possible. Believe that He IS inside us. He won’t have asked us if it were not possible. Be aware that Jesus is alive in us right now, at this moment.
That is true, if you have accepted His gift and become a follower. Be aware of that. Talk with Him, confide in Him, seek His wisdom, love Him, let Him love you as One who is closer than humanly possible. Nurture that close relationship.
We know Jesus by practicing acting like Him.
I used to tell people that our appropriate response to the gift of salvation from Jesus is to honour Him and follow Him and be like Him. However, if honest, I’m not very good at being like Him so I act like Him. I’m acting. Pretending. But with the desire to be like Him. That’s what I want.
But because I’m human, and often a jerk, I pretend. With the dream and goal of being like Jesus. To be so in love with Him that I find myself, almost as an afterthought, like Jesus.
So, do what I do. PRACTICE. Practice acting like Jesus. Keep reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Practice what you learn about Jesus. Recognize that you have Jesus living in you with all His power. Know Jesus and you will become like Jesus. It just takes practice.
I don’t know all the biblical doctrine. All the eschatology. All the meaning of the book of Revelation. I don’t know about all the spiritual gifts. I don’t pray as much as I should or read five chapters of the Bible every day. I don’t feel confident and secure in my faith everyday. But I do know one thing above all else. Jesus.
And I won’t trade that for anything.