Meeting Jesus Again For The First Time…
You know, it is a bit surreal to be here this morning. A little over eleven years ago, in this very room and on this very spot where I am standing now, my fantastic wife Sarah and I were married. That was a great day…and it has been quite an adventure since then.
Speaking of my wife, the LORD blessed Sarah and me to honeymoon in Maui— right on Kapalua Bay in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean — for the first twelve days of our marriage. Even now as we annually look through the 500 photos we took on that trip, we shake our heads and laugh at the preposterousness of God’s generosity: there we were, a couple of fresh-faced college students, newly married and only able to legally drink a glass of wine for less than six months, who had never been farther than a few miles from home without parents or chaperones, here we were traveling over six-thousand miles to one of the most exotic places on earth. Our heavenly Father truly knows how to give good gifts to His children…
I bring this up because of what we experienced in Hawaii over those two weeks. Sarah and I saw colors like we had never seen colors before. In fact, it is probably more accurate to say that in Maui we experienced color truly for the first time,
for the vibrancy of the red passion flowers,
the glowing white of the five-leafed hibiscus,
the energy of the orange trumpet vines,
the exhilaration of the violet orchid gardens,
the vitality of the Alice du Pont,
all of these luscious flowers, these glorious creations of God, revealed our previous experiences with color and nature in Illinois to have paled to mere black and white shadow.
And all of this without mentioning
the majesty of the stately mountains,
the overwhelming infernos of the nightly sunsets,
the utter nearness of the ubiquitous stars at night,
which God sprinkled unsparingly across the jet black sky from horizon to horizon,
the famous double-rainbows whose colors roared so viciously
you would think you could scoop up a handful with a mere grasp.
(Those same stars and rainbows, by the way, nearly caused serious car accidents for Sarah and I on more than one occasion.)
This is what Sarah and I experienced our first few days in Hawaii as we
stared, gawked, and glared
at the glory of God throughout His creation.
And yet at the end of our trip, by the twelfth day of our honeymoon in Maui, I distinctly remember my reaction toward these same phenomena:
My attitude towards this glorious island had become
to the majesty that surrounded me.
What??? How is that possible??? What happened over the past twelve days???
Had the flowers withdrawn their brilliance?…
Had the stars dimmed their sparkle?…
Had the rainbows muted their roar?…
No. Thankfully, no. The problem wasn’t with Hawaii…The problem was with me.
By the end of the trip my stare had turned into a scan,
my gawk had turned into a glimpse,
my gape had turned into a furtive glance.
In other words, I had stopped really looking at Maui…because I thought I had already seen her.
Is it a surprise, then, that I stopped being amazed at what I was seeing?
My friends, sadly, we do this to God as well.
We do this to the God Who has supplied us with every good thing, or at least, for those who have not yet attributed such good things to the hand of God, we have at the very least enjoyed those good things He has given us.
Amidst the blessings, we lose sight of the blesser;
Amidst the gifts, we lost sight of the giver;
Amidst the circumstance, we lose sight of the pomp.
Do you remember the account of Jesus when He visited the house of Mary and Martha?
In Luke 10:38-42, God’s Word states,
“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’
‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
Martha opened her home to Jesus—invited Him right in and was serving Him, as God so richly deserves, does He not? She was obediently practicing the hospitality for which the citizens of the Middle East have so famously been regarded for thousands of years. She opened her home for Jesus…for He stands at the door and knocks (Revelation 3:20)…
Having just celebrated Christmas earlier in the week, I bet an exhausted Mary and a troubled Joseph, as they lay tending to the Infant Jesus in a damp and drafty horse stable, would have praised God for such a ‘Martha’ at a time like that…
But what kept Martha from “choosing what was better”?
Certainly we have something else to learn from her in this text.
Why did she busy herself with serving Jesus when she had the pleasure of being with Jesus?
Perhaps Jesus’ conversation with Mary—though unrecorded in Scripture—was one that Martha had heard before…
Perhaps Martha’s initial excitement at Jesus’ arrival in her home was tempered by familiarity with His words and the seeming “redundancy” of His stories…
Like myself in Hawaii on the last days of my honeymoon when I failed to marvel at paradise simply because I had been looking at it for so long, perhaps Martha had already heard Jesus speak of:
The faith of the Roman soldier,
How Jesus brought the widow’s son back to life,
How God desires us to love, bless, and forgive our enemies,
The story of the wise and foolish builders who built their houses on rock and sand…
Perhaps Martha had already heard these amazing words of Jesus,
Perhaps she was disappointed by the “Jesus re-run.”
Perhaps this is why she decided to get back to her chores and duties, to choose what was worse…
My friends, we do the same things to God!
Some of us listening right now, some of us in this very room, have never realized that Jesus has been knocking at our doors for years, desiring to come in and forgive us, love us, encourage us, comfort us, teach us, guide us, and rebuild us, regardless of how dirty, messy, and cluttered our house is.
Some of us listening right now, some of us in this very room, have in fact heard the knocking Jesus and have spent years ducking out the back door, putting on the headphones, or in more desperate moments, yelling out, “There’s nobody home!!!”
And some of us listening right now, some of us in this very room, have in fact, like Martha, invited Jesus into our homes and into our lives, have enjoyed the freshness of this Bread of Life, have drank the crispness of His Living Water and, after a while, have found that we have often been
eating without tasting,
gulping without savoring,
digesting without enjoying…
We scan God when we could stare at His beauty…
We glimpse God when we could gawk at His power…
We glance at God when we could gape at His unconditional love…
…and many of us do this because, deep down, we think we “know Him by now.”
We open our Bibles, begin reading good news for the hundredth time, and then we change the channel, at least in our minds and hearts. The good news has become old news, the world premiere has become a re-run…The Person and Message of Jesus has become someone we have understood, responded to, and placed neatly on the shelf with our other possessions, catalogs, and intellectual conquests…
My friends, do you feel bored with God?
Has your relationship with Jesus become a series of religious activities?
Is it difficult to endure a 30 minute sermon but easy to sit through a three hour football game?
Are you worn out and burnt out by merely serving God?
Has Jesus’ consistency made Him seem mundane?
Has Jesus’ faithfulness made Him seem predictable?
Does Jesus seem only like a two-dimensional idea on a page?
Let me speak plainly:
Are you amazed by Jesus…?
When was the last time He took your breath away…?
When was the last time you met with Him?
If some of these questions cut you to the quick, as they do me, then I am glad we are here!
Because let me assure you, like Hawaii, this issue here is not with God. He has never been nor ever will be boring, mundane, predictable, or redundant…
My friends, today we are going to look through Scripture, the Bible, God’s very Word to us, to do one very important activity and in doing so to answer three very important questions:
In our remaining time this morning we are going to do nothing less than meet Jesus Himself…
And in doing so we are going to answer the following questions:
1. Can we know God?
2. If so, how can we know God?
3. And if so, what is God like?
Question #1: Can We Know God?
-Approximately 90% of the world’s population believe in God or a Higher Being/Power.
-Yet as I am studying the religions of the world in my World Religious Systems class at Moody, I am learning that only a small percentage of those people actually believe we can know God personally and intimately, as we know our parents, friends, or spouses.
Here are two popular ways that people around the world view God:
1. Either as an abstract, powerful force that is incapable of being known by us because it is an impersonal energy…God is viewed like electricity…God is seen as powerful, untamable, and able to either hurt you or bless you. Similarly, electricity is powerful, untamable, and can either hurt you through a sudden debilitating shock or bless you through heat, light bulbs, and other forms of entertainment. But you can’t know electricity—you can only know characteristics about it. Similarly, this view holds that God cannot be known either.
2. Or as a distant, angry God who is so above human beings and so good that He is unconcerned with our lives and indifferent to our struggles. Many who hold to this view live their lives as if the best interaction they can hope to have with God is simply not to anger Him through disobedience, for they implicitly view God as One who is constantly infuriated with the ineptness of humans and thus as One who loves to punish us for our inferiority. When we obey God we are simply doing our duty and do not deserve His attention, and when we disobey Him we indeed get His full attention, albeit in wrath and indignation. In this view, humans are like mosquitoes or gnats to God that He at best tolerates and worst eradicates…
My friends, these two views could not be further from the view of God taught in the Bible.
Howard Hendricks (now in his eighties), a distinguished professor at Dallas Theological Seminary since 1951 and a man beloved by thousands over that time, was recently asked the following question, “What is the most important thing you have learned about the Bible?”
He has been a seminary professor for nearly sixty years, has been getting to know Jesus and walking with Him for seven decades, and has been reading the Bible for three quarters of a century. And after all that, do you know how he responded to that question?
Hendricks quickly replied, “The most important thing I have learned about the Bible…is that it teaches me about a Person.”
A Person—not a force, idea, concept, or philosophy, but a Person…with desires, emotions, intelligence, dreams, plans, joy, and pain. A Person…
Let’s look at a few passages from the Bible and see if this is true…
1. Genesis 3:8-9 NIV: “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, ‘Where are you?’”
-Adam and Eve heard the footsteps of God as He walked in the garden amongst them…
-God spoke directly to Adam and Eve—audibly—as we speak with each other…
-These verses are from Genesis, the first book of the Bible. This is how God and humans interacted with each other in the beginning…
I don’t know about you, but I get goose bumps when I think about hearing Jesus’ footsteps as He walks along the creaky wood floors of my home, as I think about listening to His audible voice echo off the walls as He calls out down the stairs, “Hey Sarah, M.J. Where are you guys?”
This is Jesus. Do you know Him? Have you met Him? Do you recognize Him?
2. Exodus 3:1-2, 4, 7-8 NIV: “Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush…When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’ And Moses said, ‘Here I am.’ The LORD said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them…’”
Again, since we’re looking to the Bible to try and figure out whether or not we can know God personally, let’s not miss some of the important lessons from these verses:
-God appeared to Moses in the desert, during one of the most difficult times of his privileged life. God met with Moses personally in the hard times! And let’s not forget that Moses was a murderer…
-Again, God spoke to Moses audibly, calling out his name. God knew Moses personally, by name…
-God told Moses that He was attentively aware of the suffering of His people and that He was now going to actively, spectacularly, and decisively do something about it. God is rolling up His sleeves here, my friends, and coming down from on high to get neck deep into the dirty lives of His people…in order to rescue them (us)!
This is Jesus. Do you know Him? Have you met Him? Do you recognize Him?
3. Hosea 11:1-8 (The Message): “When Israel was only a child, I loved him.
I called out, ‘My son!’—called him out of Egypt.
But when others called him, he ran off and left me…
He played at religion with toy gods.
Still, I stuck with him. I led Ephraim.
I rescued him from human bondage,
But he never acknowledged my help,
never admitted that I was the one pulling his wagon,
That I lifted him, like a baby, to my cheek,
that I bent down to feed him.
Now he wants to go back to Egypt…
anything but return to me!
That’s why his cities are unsafe—the murder rate skyrockets
and every plan to improve things falls to pieces.
My people are hell-bent on leaving me…
But how can I give up on you, Ephraim?
How can I turn you loose, Israel?
I can’t bear to even think such thoughts.
My insides churn in protest.
And so I’m not going to act on my anger.
I’m not going to destroy Ephraim.
And why? Because I am God and not a human.
I’m The Holy One and I’m here—in your very midst.”
Again, since we’re looking to the Bible to try and figure out whether or not we can know God personally, let’s not miss some of the important lessons from these verses:
-God is the One who cares for us…personally!
My friends, over the course of our lives, whenever we have
learned a new skill,
recovered from an injury,
excelled in a contest,
received any type of assistance,
had our hunger satisfied,
God was the one helping us—He was personally involved in each of our circumstances!
And look at the emotions, the intense passion of God who loves so fiercely, has been hurt so deeply, and yet refuses to give up on we people whom He loves most…Can anyone relate to God here?
He truly is in our midst and desires us to be in His…even when we
Run away from Him,
Fail to trust Him,
My friends, we can know God personally. And not just a few of us—all of us can! When we read this book as a narrative, as a related story with an interwoven Message and not just as a series of splintered parts, we see that this book is God’s story of
pursuing His people,
desiring His people,
rescuing His people,
healing His people,
revealing Himself to His people,
knowing His people, and
inviting them to know Him as well!
I could go on and on…so I will!
Jesus Himself says it best in Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV), where He calls out to us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Another translation phrases His invitation this way:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Notice what Jesus doesn’t say…If we’re tired, burned out, weary, and burdened, He doesn’t give us a religious exercise to do, some great accomplishment to achieve, like fasting from food for thirty days, meditating in silence for two weeks, or praying for eighteen hours per day (not that these activities are bad, but they are not Jesus’ prescription for our weariness).
No, when we are at the end of our ropes, Jesus invites us to come to Him!!!
The Person of God…Who has a name. He invites us to come to Him…
Later on in Matthew 23:37, as Jesus is looking out over Jerusalem, over the great city filled with His people, His loved ones, over the people He has come to rescue, forgive, and restore, over people who are
disinterested in Jesus,
confused by Jesus,
violently opposed to Jesus,
too attached to themselves,
looking only for handouts from Jesus,
desiring their own selfish ambitions from Jesus,
offended at the thought of needing to be saved by Jesus,
appalled at the notion of “only” one way to God,
As Jesus looks out over those people—us people—He cries out:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.”
Jesus, in full view of our disobedience, selfishness, and resistance to Him,
desires to gather us in His arms,
Forgiving, protecting, comforting, healing, strengthening, guiding, and teaching us…
Jesus is not looking for perfect people…just willing people…
Finally, Jesus Himself says it best in John when He prays to the Father, right before Jesus is about to allow Himself to die on a cross to pay for the sins of those who love Him.
Here Jesus says,
“Father, the time has come.
Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
For you granted him authority over all people
that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life:
that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent”
(John 17:1-3 NIV, emphasis mine).
Jesus has revealed the secret to why He chose to create us human beings in the first place,
has revealed why He chose to humiliate Himself by coming to earth to be born as a human,
has revealed what He wants most for us to have—eternal life, and what that really means:
This is eternal life—defined, by the author of life:
That we would know Him and that we would know God the Father as well.
The Greek word translated “know” in this verse is “ginosko” (gi-nose-ko).
It has a range of meanings:
find out about,
The tense of this Greek verb indicates that this
“knowledge [of Jesus] is a growing experience.”
This knowledge is not “merely intellectual, mere information…[it] entails fellowship, trust, personal relationship, faith.”
Jesus offers us full life, a real and eternal life, and that life is knowing Him, personally…
So do you know Him?
Are you aware of Jesus in your daily life?
Do you recognize Him in the ordinary tasks of your day?
Have you ever acknowledged Him? And not only His existence, but Who He claims to be?
Beyond mere facts, what have you found out about Jesus?
What does it feel like to be with Him,
To have union with Him?
Do you know Jesus?
(or do you simply know about Him?)
Question #2: So How Can We Know God?
My friends, some of you listening here today are hearing this good news for the first time, this good news that
God made us to know Him personally.
What a blessing, what a thrill I hope this is for you!
And how I pray that you will leave here this morning having met Jesus,
And determined that you will choose to meet with Him more regularly.
Others of you have been following Jesus for many years and have learned a lot of good and accurate information/facts about Him over that time but, if you’re like me, you might not know how to respond to the questions,
“So what is Jesus like? What is it like to be His friend, to be with Him everyday?”
Many of us don’t know how to answer this question without giving a list of statistics and characteristics. It’s not that this is bad, it is simply not complete; just as one can not say they know you simply by knowing your age, gender, address, strengths, and weaknesses. These items help them know you a little, but they do not compare to actually spending time with you over a meal, throughout a day, and in a traffic jam!
This is the reason why certain people, after spending $20 to read Warren Buffet’s autobiography, spend $300,000 to have lunch with him for an hour. Being with a person is always better than reading about a person—the same is true with God…
Here are some practical steps we can all take to get to know Jesus personally:
1. Ask God to help you know Him better (before you do anything else…just ask Him).
This is what my wife Sarah did. Almost a decade ago, she cried out to God, “God! Show me who You are. I want to know You. Who are You?” Many of you have heard my wife’s testimony, the testimony that she gave on this very platform, in March 2002. That testimony started with a question to God, nothing more. She went straight to the source to begin her journey. She started out “choosing what was best” by choosing the best first step—simply asking God to meet with her. And so Jesus has, over the course of the last decade…And He’ll do the same for us, if we only have the faith and courage to ask…
2. Invite Jesus into your daily activities (chores, errands, entertainment, etc.).
Peter Marshall, the late great Scottish pastor who became chaplain of the U.S. Senate, said it well,
“God is a God of laughter, as well as prayer…A God of singing, as well as
God is at home in the play of His children.
He loves to hear us laugh.
We do not honor God by our long faces…our austerity.
God wants us to be good—not ‘goody goody.’
There is quite a distinction.
We must try to make the distinction between worship
If God is not in our [Blackberry’s] as well as our hymnbooks,
there is something wrong with our religion.
If our God does not enter our kitchens,
there is something the matter with [our cooking].
If we can’t take God into our recreation,
there is something wrong with the way we play.
If God, for us, does not smile,
there is something wrong with our idea of God.
We all believe in the God of the heroic.
What we need most these days is the God
Of the humdrum…
3. Talk to Jesus throughout your day.
We usually get to know people better by talking with them, having conversations with them—asking them questions and then listening to their responses. If God is a Person, then why would getting to know Him be any different? He is never too busy for you…Never…
4. Sit in silence with Jesus.
This is the listening aspect of talking with God. True listening is an issue of respect. It does not involve our ears so much as it involves our eyes. We look at what we are concentrating on most. Sarah and I teach our daughters to look at the person with whom they are speaking—this shows attention and respect. For our daughters, this mostly involves taking their eyes off the television or out of a book (not an easy thing!). The same is true for us. If we really want to be and talk with the God of the universe, it is important for us to look at Him (if not with our eyes than with our minds and thoughts). Invigorating prayer—conversation with Jesus—eventually requires us to stop multi-tasking, to stop looking at ourselves in the mirror, and to start looking at the real “fairest One of all,” the One who invented beauty in the first place…
5. Ask Jesus to help you recognize Him in your daily life.
Friends, the Bible teaches us that we are born into this world sinful (Psalm 51:5), broken, out of tune, and “bent” as C.S. Lewis has said, naturally (or unnaturally, depending on how you look at it) drifting away from God. We need forgiveness—to be fixed, re-tuned, and re-bent so that we can see God, ourselves, and reality clearly. We need God’s help to see His active presence in our daily lives, just as I couldn’t see the words on these pages, or your bright and shining faces, without my glasses and contact lenses. And again, it all starts with a simple, sincere, and succinct request to Him directly…
6. Read the Bible. As much as possible. This is the primary way we get to know God!
Then, while reading, look at the different passages for what they show you about God.
I have struggled for years with reading Scripture. I am either overwhelmed me because of its size, intimidated because of its depth, or distracted by my desire to feed on the candy that I crave instead of the nourishment that I need.
And so I have asked God to help me desire to get to know Him better (because sometimes I don’t want to);
And so I have asked God to help me desire to do the right things in life (because sometimes I don’t want to);
And so I have also asked God to help me desire to read His Word to me (because sometimes I don’t want to).
And He has!…Over a lifetime, God can change our desires to line up with His…
And in addition to consistently asking God to bend our desires to match His, it is also important, once we have been reading God’s Word for a while, to ask God to help us look at the accounts of this book in fresh ways, from new perspectives, from fresh angles, so that we taste and enjoy and get nourished by all the courses of the meal, not simply the appetizers (or just the vegetables). There is nothing wrong with eating the salad of God’s Word (initial nutritional necessity) so that you can get to the cake of God’s Word (heightened understanding of, intimacy with, and appreciation for God)…especially if He has written it like that intentionally!
So that is how we will conclude our time together this morning—by reading a little more Scripture to get to the dessert! That is, by reading through some of God’s Word in order to meet Jesus again…for the first time.
Question #3: What is Jesus Like?
Over the last 11 + years that Sarah and I have attended Christ Church, our Senior Pastor, Mike Woodruff, has on a few occasions challenged us to read the words after the red letters in the Bible to get a fresh perspective on Jesus.
Many Bibles have the words of Jesus in red to distinguish His words from the rest of the Bible (whose words are usually in black). What is intriguing about Mike’s suggestion is that we get to see Jesus not through our own eyes (of the 21st century), but we instead get to see Jesus through the eyes of 1st century Jews and Gentiles, the men and women who saw, met, and witnessed Jesus with their own eyes and in the mundane events of their own daily lives…
We get to see the reactions of those who met Jesus, seeing what effect meeting Him had on them, seeing how they responded to His words, actions, and character.
So here is Jesus—directly from the Bible—through the eyes of those who saw, who were there, who know…
7. Matthew 9:8
“When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men.”
15. Matthew 15:25, 28
“The woman came and knelt before him. ‘Lord, help me!’ she said…And her daughter was healed from that very hour.”
20. Matthew 22:33
“When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.”
30. Mark 4:41
“They were terrified and asked each other, ‘Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!’”
34. Mark 6:42
“They all ate and were satisfied…”
36. Mark 7:36-37
“Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. ‘He has done everything well,’ they said. ‘He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.’”
37. Mark 9:7
“Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: ‘This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!’”
49. Luke 5:28
“…and Levi got up, left everything and followed [Jesus].”
50. Luke 7:15-17
They were all filled with awe and praised God. ‘A great prophet has appeared among us,’ they said. ‘God has come to help his people.’
11. Matthew 12:14
“But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.”
12. Matthew 13:54-58
“Coming to his hometown, [Jesus] began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?’ they asked…And they took offense at him…And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”
52. Luke 8:39
“So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him.”
55. Luke 9:43
“And they were all amazed at the greatness of God.”
61. Luke 15:1-2
“Now the tax collectors and ‘sinners’ were all gathering around to hear [Jesus]. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’”
62. Luke 16:14
“The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.”
75. Luke 24:32
They asked each other, ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while [Jesus] talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?’”
82. John 3:29-30
“[Jesus] must become greater; I must become less.’”
83. John 4:39-42
“They said to the woman, ‘We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.’”
87. John 6:60-61, 66, 68
“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed [Jesus].”
88. John 7:5
“For even [Jesus’] own brothers did not believe in him.”
97. John 10:33
“ ‘We are not stoning you for any of these [actions],’ replied the Jews, ‘but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.’”
98. John 1:29
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
105. John 20:30-31
“Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
This is Jesus. Do you know Him? Have you met Him? Do you recognize Him?
My friends, this same Jesus who
amazed the people,
attracted the crowds,
healed the sick,
angered the stubborn,
raised the dead,
challenged the selfish, and
hung out as a friend with the worst sinners,
this same Jesus who said “I am
-the Bread of Life
-the Alpha and the Omega
-the First and the Last
-the Beginning and the End
-the Bright Morning Star
-the only way to the Father
-the Way, the Truth, and the Life
-the Resurrection and the Life
-the Son of Man
-the Son of God
-the Good Shepherd
this same Jesus is alive today, and will return to earth, not as a baby but as a King, to
“bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him”
(Hebrews 9:28 NLT)
What will you do in the meantime?
Please remember, my friends—I left Maui having been desensitized and dulled to the island’s brilliancy because I stopped really looking at her—her color hadn’t dimmed.
These days, the vibrancy of Hawai’i is refreshed in my mind each year as Sarah and I look through the 500 panoramic photos we took there…I look more slowly now than ever before!
Moving forward from here, will you take a first, or a fresh, look at Jesus?
Will you meet Him again and taste Him again, for the first time?
Will you ask God to help you know Him better?
Will you invite Jesus into your daily activities?
Will you talk to Jesus throughout your day?
Will you sit in silence with Jesus?
Will you ask Jesus to help you recognize Him in your daily life?
Will you read the Bible, looking at the passages for what they show you about God, how they introduce you to Him?
Not as a New Year Resolution…
But as a New Life Resolution…
Will you know Him?
Will you meet Him?
Will you recognize Him?
Desire, prepare to meet thy truest satisfaction…
Let’s pray with Him now…