11/30/09: I’ve been a Christian for 18 years, longer if my first salvation prayer accessed the reservoir of eternal life from God’s free gift. Thing is, my whole Christian life has been plagued with doubt, mostly because I know my own shortcomings. But also due to comparing myself to other Christians I know. Over those 18 years, I've met some extraordinary Christian brothers and sisters…people who, quite honestly glowed in the dark. But I wondered, do they really know Jesus like they say they do? Some of these great people spoke of Jesus like I would speak of a best friend--as if they had frequent, actual contact.
So, long story short, I wonder about this whole Knowing Jesus thing. How do we know God? I can’t see him, I can’t feel him, I can’t hear his voice—I know some good brothers and sisters seem to have more intimacy with him. I just don’t know. Are all these other people liars? Are they misinterpreting their experiences? Is knowing Jesus a psychosomatic phenomena? Or, can we actually know Jesus like our best friend? There has to be a difference in the relationship--He is God. He is invisible to us now. But I wonder, am I missing something still?
So, how can I know Jesus? I pray sometimes…not as often as I should. But sometimes, when I pray, I feel like a stranger looking around in a big empty house. Anyone there? Hello? My words seem to bounce off the ceiling.
I don’t blame God, though sometimes I’m arrogant enough to do so, but I still just don’t seem to get to know Him through prayer.
Well, there’s one place I’m confident his word exists: the Bible, esp. the gospels. So, I’m going to reread all of them, but with a different approach. I’m reading to get to know Jesus, and for no other reason. Lord God, I am a broken, messed up, confused, and sinful man. If you may be known, let me know you. And please know me and remember me when I die and stand before God. I would wither without you. Amen.
Official disclaimer: I don't claim to be an expert in Biblical matters. My theology might be stronger than some, weaker than others. I'm not attempting to teach anything to anyone. I'm just hoping to share the experience of getting to know Jesus. I welcome all feedback.
Matthew 3: 13-17
The Baptism of Jesus
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
15Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
This is the first scene in the NT where Jesus comes before the camera and speaks. John has been waiting for the Messiah, waiting for Jesus to come, but not waiting to baptize Jesus. John knows just who this is, he’s already reckoned himself unfit to tie Jesus’ sandals. John was blown away by Jesus coming to be baptized. In fact, John tried to deter Jesus. His motives were pure, but he was objecting to something he didn’t understand. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? How many criticisms of God are just that way? How many times have I growled at God as if there’s one thing in this universe I might actually know better than the Almighty?
But this isn’t about me. Back to Jesus. How does the Messiah, God in the flesh, respond to John? Gently, but with clear perspective. Let it be so now; it is proper—ie: in God’s plan, this is the right thing to do and will “fulfill all righteousness.” To John, it’s preposterous that he, a mere man, should baptize the Lord. But to Jesus, it was just as it should be. From this passage I get to know Jesus a little bit; I get a foggy window into His mind. Even from the beginning, Jesus had the plans of God on His mind.