Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Personal Jesus

So what now? The death and resurrection of Jesus has been marked and pondered and celebrated. What now?

Now is when we continue to walk with Jesus. We spend even more time with Him in prayer and in His Word and in obedience to his Holy Spirit than before. In short, we continue to grow in our personal relationship with Him. If you do not yet know Jesus, John 14:7-11 tells us that going forward, you can. The best place to start to get to know Jesus is in the entire book of John.

Now, there are some folks in the Christian press and church (who consider themselves to be especially relevant and current) that have taken a low view of a personal relationship with Christ. They have conjured an opinion that it is somehow selfish, too inward-looking or not concerned enough with the environment or social justice. Yet Philippians 2:5 tells us our “attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” How can we know the attitude of Christ if we do not know Christ personally? Everything begins with a personal relationship with Christ because only He is good and only He can produce regeneration and right motives.

Philippians 2:13 reminds us that “it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

Let me be clear: I’m not advocating a personal Jesus in the sense that Jesus becomes who we want Him to be, or becomes a creation of our own imagination. The personal Jesus I’m talking about is the Jesus of the Bible that we can approach one-to-one. The fear of the Lord is not about being afraid. It’s about a loving God wanting us to respect Him enough to come to Him and trust Him like He asks us to and very much wants us to. But He desires we come to Him through Jesus Christ…not an image, fantasy or self-made secular humanist construction of Him. Acts 17:29 says, “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill.”

God wants us to come to Him based on who He is: the God of the Bible. It is on that foundation only on which He does the work of building personal relationship.

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 11:27

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. John 10:14-18

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.'” John 14:6-7

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