Posted on March 11, 2015
#95: Knowing Jesus
The groom waits joyfully at the front of the sanctuary. He’s dressed in his best, ready for the moment he’s planned for, sacrificed for, and anticipated for ages. Many witnesses have gathered to share the joy.
The happy music begins. The back doors of the sanctuary open. The crowds rise to their feet, turning to view the bride’s entrance.
But the doorway is empty. She’s not there.
No—wait, wait. Here she comes!
The audience and the groom stand in horrified disbelief as the bride saunters down the aisle in dirty, worn old jeans and a baggy sweatshirt. Her hair is pulled back in a careless ponytail revealing pink earbuds connected to her IPod, the source of the rock tune she’s humming. In place of her bridal bouquet she’s holding the latest novel, reading as she walks. She glances over her book, spying her groom. Wiggling her fingers in a little wave, she gives him a wink as she moves forward.
She’s almost reached the altar when she stops, pulls one earbud loose and says to her stunned groom, “Ya know, there’s something I need to do. I’ll be back in a bit.” She hesitates, thinking. “Ummm, I might not make it till tomorrow. Well, not exactly sure when…. But I’ll be here. I love you to the moon and back. Never forget it!” Stepping forward she pecks him on the cheek, then reinserts her earbud, turns and walks away.
Suppose you were in the audience. Would you believe her declaration of love? Would you advise the groom to believe her—to wait for her?
As the Bride of Christ, we are sometimes just as casual in our relationship with Him, and just as unconvincing in our professed love for Him. I believe, though, that the more we know Him—the more we understand His love for us—the more we’ll grow in our depth of commitment and passion for Him. We’ll be increasingly ashamed of flimsy faith, increasingly determined to pursue Him with undivided hearts.
That’s why, nearly two years ago, I set out to write this in-depth study of Mark’s gospel—Knowing Jesus—looking at His life from many facets and learning all we can from Him. I wanted us to recognize the glory that the living Word of God set aside for us. I hoped we’d comprehend the enormity of His sacrifice just to live in human flesh—let alone to endure the agony of the cross. And I prayed we would come away with a fresh desire to live Christ with every breath of our lives.
We’ve pored over His life, listened in on His conversations, overheard His prayers. We’ve learned a lot. “Summing up” a life like His is challenging, to say the least—but I think these five points capture the overall portrait:
• As the Word, He was articulating God, serving as God’s speaking voice.
• In the incarnation, He was defining God, showing how God would do human life.
• In death, He was obeying God, carrying out God’s plan of redemption.
• From the grave, He was proclaiming God, informing every soul of God’s triumph.
• In the resurrection, He was declaring God, rising to reign in glorious power!
When we are like Him, when we live in His image—
• we articulate God, becoming His voice and hands and feet to the world around us. In the way we live they hear God speak peace into their turmoil, truth into their confusion, light into their darkness, love into their loneliness, healing into their hurt.
• we define God to all who watch our lives. In us, they catch a glimpse of how God intended humans to live. We demonstrate for other humans and for “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms” why God went to such lengths to save us in Jesus, proving that He was wise to do it. (Check out Ephesians 3:10-11—two of the most exciting verses in the Bible when we grasp the cosmic importance of our mission as people of Christ, and the cosmic calamity of our sin.)
• we obey God in life and in death. We live in the joy of redemption, we die in the blessed hope of heaven. This is how twenty Egyptian Christians could kneel and sing hymns of praise as their captors prepared to behead them; they knew they were about to transition from life to life. So just as Jesus was “obedient unto death—even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8), we who have “stood the test…will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
• we proclaim God even from the grave, long after our earthly lives have ended. Philippians 1:6 promises, “…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Get that. Not just until the day you die, but until the day of Christ. Your legacy of faith is a lasting tool He can use to encourage those who come after you, long after you’ve gone Home. You know of faithful people, now dead, who still proclaim God to all who remember or hear about the lives they lived. Understand that you can be one of them.
• we declare God in His glory forever as we share in everlasting life with Him. Eternally free of sin and temptation, our eternal existence will continually shout His power to save us and His grace to redeem us. The sheer fact that we’re there will be never-ending praise.
These are just five of many, many ways in which we can know Him and be like Him.
At the beginning of this study, I asked, “If someone asked you to answer the question, ‘Who is Jesus?’ in three sentences or less, how would you respond based on what you know now?” I promised to ask the same question at the end of Knowing Jesus, to see how your response changed. (Comment below; I’d love to hear your answer!)
I pray if our knowledge of Him was shallow, it’s much deeper now. If our hunger for more of Him was weak, it’s now insatiable. If our love for Him was casual, it’s now a fiery passion. May we use this study’s end to launch a new quest to learn even more of Him. Thanks for joining me for Knowing Jesus!
NOTE: Be sure to watch for a special Easter series coming up, and a new “Wednesdays In The Word” Bible study that will begin in early April. We’ve got lots more learning to do!
© Diane McLoud 2015