At the epicenter of the Christian faith is this one radical idea: You can know GOD personally through a relationship with Jesus.
This one concept is what separates Christianity from every other religion in our world. It’s what differentiates Christianity as a faith rather than a religion. It’s based on knowing God personally.
On the surface this seems crazy. How can you know a God that you can’t see? Perhaps God knew this would be hard for us to embrace. Maybe that is why He made Himself visible through Jesus. Jesus lived on this earth. People spent time with Him and knew Him…personally. The closest to Him were His disciples.
One time during His ministry, Jesus asked His disciples this question, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” (Luke 9:18). Jesus’ disciples say that some people think He is John the Baptist, Elijah or some other prophet re-incarnated.
Jesus seems to ignore their response and then asks them, “But what about you?” Now, if anyone knew Jesus, it would be them. They saw His miracles. They heard His words. Heck, they lived with Him 24/7.
That’s when Peter speaks up and says, “The Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Ding. Ding. We have a winner. He nailed it. That’s who Jesus is. He was correct.
I think if anyone follows Jesus long enough, they will come to this conclusion: He is truly divine. He is the Son of God. Honestly, I’ve been following Jesus most of my entire life, and if you asked me who He was, I’d probably rattle off a series of phrases to describe Him.
He is Savior.
He is Lord.
He is God’s Son.
He is our Messiah.
He is a miracle-worker.
He is King.
All of these answers are correct. Just like Peter, I’d be batting 1000. However, what happens only a few verses later in this same chapter has changed my perception.
Only 8 days after this encounter, Luke tells us that Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain to pray. Listen to what happened while they were praying. As He was praying, the appearance of His face changed, and His clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. (Luke 9:29)
Could you imagine this moment for Peter, James and John? They knew who Jesus was…or so they thought. Until His face changed!!! What? Yep, His face changed. What did He really look like? Did it morph into something they had never seen before? We aren’t given real details of what happened, but all we know is that in this moment Jesus’ disciples realized they didn’t know Jesus as much as they thought they did.
It made me realize the same. I’ve been a Christ-follower so long that at times I think I know who He is. He fits into my list. And yet, as I write this, I am beginning to realize that I don’t really know Him like I think I do.
Jesus is more than I think He is. There is another side to Him that I may never know, but I want to find out.
So often in any relationship the mystery lessens the longer you know the person. When you’ve been married 10 or 15 years, the mystery is gone. You know everything about the person (or at least you think you do.) But when it comes to knowing Jesus – there is always MORE than you can see.
Perhaps, this idea of you “knowing” God is too limited. Maybe there is more to Jesus than what you think you know. If your relationship has become a routine that is lifeless and without mystery, may this challenge you to realize that He may not be who you think He is.