Facebook has been around since 2004. From its beginning, it has slowly been changing the way that we interact and communicate with the world around us. This mode of socializing has opened the door to a whole new world of virtual interaction. Great things have been done in bridging gaps between long distant friends or even reuniting relationships of the past. We are able to keep up with others in ways that we were never able to before. We can now witness family grow up right before our eyes in online photo albums. We can keep in touch through posts and comments. These things are great but with all of the advantages of this tool there are also many dangers. Whether we recognize it or not social media has affected the way that we relate with others. Yes, we are able to feel close to people but, in all honesty, we can also keep them at a safe distance. We can now feel like we “know” people without ever having to talk with them or even offer anything of ourselves. All it takes is a click and a scroll. Relating in this way has a sad resemblance to how many people relate to the Lord.
Jesus said in John 17, “This is eternal life, that you know Me and the One who sent Me.” In one sense Jesus is describing how we gain eternal life. To know Jesus is to have eternal life. We cannot have forgiveness and a right-standing with the Father if we do not know and trust the Son. In this statement Jesus is also showing what eternal life is. It is all about knowing Jesus. How will we spend eternity? Knowing, getting to know, and being in relationship with Christ. This is important for us to realize because if we don’t have it now then we will never have it then. A relationship with Christ is much more than just acknowledging His existence. It goes beyond being able to rehearse some events from His life or having some of the same interests as He does. This is proven in Matt. 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” I could say that I know Carson Wentz. I know that we have some similar interests. I’ve followed his activity and kept up on his current injury status but even with all that I know about him, he would have no idea who I was. There’s no relationship there. We’ve never truly interacted. Any connection has only been from a distance. Many people have “added” Jesus at some point in their lives. They follow some of His posts every now and then and feel like this has given them a status with Christ when the truth is, there is nothing there.
When it comes to your relationship with Jesus, how would He respond when you say, “I know Him!”? To truly know Jesus we must give ourselves to Him. We cannot know Him fully from a distance. John makes this clear in his epistle. To know Jesus means to walk with Him (1 John 1:7) and keep His Word (1 John 2:4). Jesus explained in Matthew 7:24 that this looks like hearing His Word and acting on it. To be more than an acquaintance requires action. This is true, both, in relationships with others and with Jesus. It’s also interesting, when John talks about walking with Jesus, he also talks about confession. If we are going to get close to Christ we are going to need to leave the comfort of a safe distance and share ourselves, for who we really are, with Him. When we interact in this way we reveal our need to know Him and we also gain the opportunity for forgiveness and transformation. This New Year let’s look to get to know Jesus. Let’s take an active approach to taking in all that we can of Him and offering up all that we are to Him so that we may see what it truly means to have a friend in Jesus.
Getting To Know Him, Pastor Rudy