I’d like to return to the theme of “knowing” Jesus vs. being in relationship with him.
Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
These words seem stern and in a sense they are. Jesus is reminding us that to have knowledge of Jesus is not enough. Jesus is telling us that having some loose connection to him, is not the same as being in relationship with him. What Jesus wants for us (and that is what makes these words here, words of grace more than warning) is to be connected to us in an intimate way.
There is a story about a lecture given by a theologian at the University of Chicago Divinity School years ago. In his lecture this man sought to prove that the resurrection of Jesus was a myth. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no proof of a historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, because if faith is based on a relationship with Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense, then he is now dead and therefore it is impossible for anyone to be in relationship with him. When he finished his carefully choreographed speech, he asked if there were any questions.
An old preacher stood up in the back of the auditorium. “Doctor, I got one question.” But before he asked the question, he reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. “Doctor...CRUNCH, CRUNCH ... My question is a simple question ... CRUNCH, CRUNCH ... Now, I’ve never read the scholars you’ve referred to ... CRUNCH, CRUNCH ... and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek like you can ...CRUNCH, CRUCH... but could you answer this question for me: The apple I just ate – was it sour or sweet?”
The theologian paused for a moment and answered, “I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.”
The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his paper bag, looked up at the man and said calmly, “Neither have you tasted my Jesus.”
Once again, I ask you to be open to the invitation from Jesus to draw into a deeper relationship with him. For he doesn’t want you to just know about him, Jesus wants to be in a relationship that is soul-deep, and strong enough to last into eternity.
~ God bless, Dan