Knowing the Person of Jesus Christ


The Song of Solomon from "The Bible and Its Story," published 1909This weekend proved to me again that we must scrutinize our walk with Christ.

Note that phrase that we use so effortlessly: walk with Christ.

I’ve been away from the blogosphere for the last two weeks, so I’ve missed the latest hubbub on the Web. Without a doubt, some feelings have been hurt, someone called someone else a heretic, fighting words duked it out with other fighting words, and a brand new systematic theology was hatched.

That’s the problem with where our faith has taken us. In the midst of all the discussions, I wonder if we still remember that it’s not about systematic theologies, or clever apologetics, or myriad other things. It’s about Jesus Christ.

Have we lost the person of Jesus? Do we treat Him like a person or do we treat him like an aesthetic, a systematic theology, a mascot, or a code of living?

This verse continues to startle me:

And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
—John 17:3 ESV

We tend to think of eternal life as living on in heaven after we die. But Christ Himself says that eternal life is knowing Him.

The last part of that verse should intrigue us all. The whom you have sent gives us the why of Jesus’ coming in the flesh. We know that when He’s asked about showing the disciples the Father, Jesus tells them that seeing His own person is enough. See Jesus = See the Father.

The expectation that we are called to know Christ sets a high standard, one that calls for intimacy like that found in Song of Solomon. The disciples knew Jesus before the coming of the Holy Spirit, but afterwards they knew Him even more intimately. And so it is with us. The expectation that we have that deep intimacy can’t be avoided.

This brings up a sticky subject: Do we truly know Christ or merely know about Him? I suspect that many Christians equate the two, but I can’t agree with them. Something altogether different occurs in the life of some Christians versus others and that key distinction comes down to knowing.

That knowing goes even beyond faith. I know some Christians who have tons of faith, but when pressed their explanation of how they know Christ is lacking. I read a book like A.W. Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy (a book everyone must read) and I see in those pages a tangible knowing that transcends the experience of most Christians I know, myself included.

To use the lover illustrations from Song of Solomon, it is quite one thing to receive a letter from the Beloved (think the Bible here) or to glimpse Him from afar (when we minister in His name or when we reach out to Him briefly in worship), but that face-to-face meeting is wholly different. Some would be satisfied with that, but the bedchamber calls and there we are to experience another level of intimacy, the pinnacle of knowing.

All too often we get sidetracked by arguments, performing, and rules so that we never achieve that face-to-face meeting so essential to knowing, much less ever make it to the bedchamber. Our knowledge is like that of fans of an unapproachable celebrity; we collect all the trinkets, chair the meetings, write letters, and on and one, but we don’t know that celebrity at all. That celebrity probably doesn’t know us, either.

But if eternal life is knowing Jesus Christ, we must have a face set toward the bedchamber or else we’ll miss it.

How many of us do? How many of us truly know the Person of Jesus Christ? Not about Him, but Him as a real Person?

Our answer makes all the difference.

A Flawed Love Letter?


There’s an odd new move in some of today’s cutting-edge churches. It is a move to recover the love relationship we are intended to have with Jesus— an admirable and holy desire. However, this strange new company of Jesus lovers has a peculiar view of the one they love, a view so at odds with the truth that it calls into question the very nature of love itself.

There is no doubt that Jesus is the Lover of our souls. His is a boundless love, deeper than space itself. Into this love relationship He calls us like a young hero beckoning his future bride. His love for the Church is so unfathomable that it transcends the pleasure of our sexual unions, a pale copy of the joy that is to come when we who call Him our Lover are joined to Him for all time and sit down beside Him at our marriage supper.

What kind of love letter would such a lover write to his beloved? Would it misspeak his true intentions? Would it contain exaggerations of his accomplishments? Would it leave out the truth and leave in lies? What lover would speak to his beloved this way?

Certainly not Jesus.

And yet these same folks who are calling us to simply love Jesus more and let Him love us in return are saying that His love letters to us, The Holy Scriptures, are flawed, filled with errors, mistaken and incomplete. No inerrancy in Jesus’ love letters to us is possible. Only fools, not lovers, believe the Bible to be inerrant. To believe the words of Jesus are perfect is to love them more than Him.

Readers, you will hear more and more in days to come about returning to a pure love of Jesus, but with a cloaked caveat that the Scriptures cannot be wholly trusted. Wariness and wisdom are called for. As the wrong kind of yeast ruins what is intended to be a fine wine, so the introduction of doubt into the veracity of the Scriptures will sour many a soul.

No one should ever doubt the Lord; His love for us is transcendent. How then can we think of Him as speaking to us anything but the perfect and immutable words of His eternal, loving heart?

Psalm 119:7-11 ESV

The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure,
making wise the simple;

the precepts of the LORD are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure,
enlightening the eyes;

the fear of the LORD is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true,
and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.

Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.