Getting to Know Jesus
I am passionate about having “a personal relationship with Jesus.” Jesus has made a way for us to have relationship with him. The life of a disciple is not about grasping the ethical principles embodied in Jesus’ life. To be a follower of Jesus, even in our day and age, is not simply understanding Jesus’ mission and ministry and seeking to mimic him.
Jesus is alive. He rose from the dead. He is present in our world, although not in the same way as during the days of his incarnation. Nevertheless, we can have a real relationship with him.
John, one of Jesus’ closest friends during the time he did walk the streets of Palestine, wrote that he had ongoing fellowship (that refers to real, experiential relationship) with Jesus (1 John 1:1-4), long after the ascension when Jesus left the planet bodily (Acts 1:1-11). In speaking of the fellowship that he was continuing to enjoy with Jesus, John told his readers that they could enjoy the same fellowship, the same real personal, ongoing relationship with the living Jesus that he himself was enjoying. Not ethical guidelines, not religious practices–John was writing about real ongoing life with Someone!
That is what I want. But I don’t want a relationship with an imaginary Jesus–a contrived, self-perpetuated concept of what I think Jesus might be like. I want to know and have life with the real Jesus. So what is the way forward?
It seems to me that to pursue Jesus, I will have to pursue him through the pages of Scripture. That is, the Scriptures will point me to the Jesus with whom I can have a relationship. Even in Jesus’ day, when he did walk the planet, that was the case.
In speaking with the religious leaders of his day, Jesus explained:
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.” (John 5:39-40)
These words came with impact to those who first heard Jesus say this. But they come with impact to me as well. If I want life with Jesus, the Scriptures will lead me there. “They testify about [Jesus].” The Scriptures point me to the real deal so that I can have real life . . . with Jesus. Pursuing Jesus is a pursuit of him as testified to in the Scriptures.