Jump Start # 2570
Philippians 3:10 “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”
This passage has been a central theme for us during the past week. I preached about it last Sunday. Our Wednesday podcast was structured around this. Now, I want to write about it. Twice in the context Paul talks about knowing Christ.
Knowing someone is an interesting thought. With some you can spend a lifetime with them and still feel that you do not know them. The task of historians is to dive into a vast amount of information and to the best of their ability get us to know someone. We can pick up a book on Abe Lincoln and read it. When we are finished, we’ve learned some new insights, some facts and dates, but can we say that we really know Abraham Lincoln? Can we say that we understand why he did what he did? Can we say that we know what moved him and what made him tick?
And that is the challenge before us with Jesus. My preaching Bible contains 196 pages of the Gospels, the story of Jesus. Just 196 pages and a distance of 2,000 years in time is what we have to know Jesus. On the surface that seems impossible. How can we know Jesus with only 196 pages? Can we really know Him? Can we truly understand Him? Certainly there are many secondary books written about the Gospel accounts, but as far as first hand, eyewitness reports, there are just those 196 pages.
If you were to write only 196 pages about your life and you wanted me to really know you and understand you, do you think that could be possible? Now, when we think even deeper about those 196 pages, it’s not all about Jesus. There are background narratives about places and people. There are words from critics and accusers. But that is the life story of our Lord.
Now, some thoughts:
First, Paul said that he could know the Lord. Paul had a vision of Jesus before he was converted. Other than that, Paul did not follow Jesus like Peter did. He did not travel three years with Jesus as John did. He likely wasn’t in the audience to hear the sermon on the mount. He likely was not among the multitudes that were fed by Jesus. I doubt that Paul saw Jesus heal anyone. Yet, he said that he knew the Lord. That’s great hope for you and I. We, too, can know the Lord.
Second, what God reveals to us in Scriptures is all that we need to understand and know the Lord. Our times would have us to think that unless I know your favorite color, your favorite food, your favorite song, then I really do not know you. We cannot answer those questions about Jesus. I don’t know what His favorite song was. However, I can know the Lord. I can know that He is God who came to earth. I can know that He has all authority and He proved that. I can know what His purpose and mission was. I can know what He thinks about me. I can know what He wants me to do. The Scriptures have provided enough details and information so that we can know Jesus, trust Jesus, follow Jesus and even be changed by Jesus.
Third, we can confidently say that we know the Lord. We can because we stand upon the Scriptures. God allows us to know Jesus through the Scriptures. In this way, everyone comes to know Jesus the same. If our knowledge of the Lord was based upon feelings or experiences, then we may all have a different concept of Jesus. But as it is, we all come to the Scriptures. It’s the same picture for all of us. Together, we have the same image of the Lord. Together, we can stand united, with one mind and one voice built upon that one faith. We hear stories about how some people are one way in public and a different way at home. Or, how some are one way to some people and a different way towards others. That leaves people with different images and impressions of the same person. It’s not that way with Jesus. How Paul knew Jesus is exactly the same as you will come to know Jesus.
Fourth, to know anyone requires spending some time with that person. And, in doing that, one must listen and not talk about himself the whole time. It’s no different with the Lord. If you really want to know the Lord then you have to spend some time with Him. You must go through those Gospels with a careful eye. You’ll notice His compassion. You’ll see how He answered questions. You’ll pick up on how kind and thoughtful He was. You’ll see a heart that is loved shaped and God focused. When asked, Jesus went. When interrupted, Jesus allowed the person to speak. He wasn’t bothered by children. Faith is what impressed Jesus. You see these things. Page after page, you see these things. Different people. Different villages. Different settings. Yet, the same image of Jesus keeps coming out. You, are beginning to know the Lord. And, when you do that, you will realize that He want you to be righteous. He wants you to believe. He wants you to be Heaven bound.
Finally, as we strive to know the Lord, it is important to understand that He knows you. That is a great fear that many have. That thought keeps many from going to worship. We fear that if God really knew us, then He wouldn’t like us. He knows you. There is nothing that you have done that God didn’t know about. God will never say, “Wow! I didn’t know that about you.” He knows. He knows and He still loves you. He knows and He still wants you to spend eternity with Him in Heaven. He knows and He still offers you a second chance. God knows what you are good at. God knows what buttons Satan pushes to tempt you. God knows your feelings. God knows you heart.
Sometimes, many times, we can feel like no one knows me. No one really cares about me. God knows you. God loves you. Now, do you know the Lord? Is your image of Jesus Bible based or is it something that you have just made up?
Do you know my Jesus? Great song. Great question. Great thought.