Do You See Jesus When You Read the Bible?
Do you know that it’s possible to have a tremendous amount of spiritual knowledge but not actually know the Lord? We can have all the right answers, doctrines and theology and fight to the death to defend the doctrines of the Bible. We can even spend years of research on these things and write books about all we know. And yet in the midst of all this, we can miss out on understanding God and His nature. In Christ’s day, we can see this in the Pharisees.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing theology and correct doctrines—I can assure you, there is no greater theologian than the Lord Jesus Christ! But if we go to the Bible looking solely for knowledge and information, we can get wonderful degrees, be very smart and express ourselves clearly with the words of Scripture, but we will not see the face of Jesus.
Our goal must not be information but a person. Each day, from the moment we open our eyes and get out of bed, our conscious desire must be, “Today I want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Today, I want to know a little more about Him. Today my attitude must be Christ’s attitude. Today, this is what I want.”
I’ve seen dozens of young people come through GFA’s one-year School of Discipleship program with this very desire. The overwhelming thirst within them is to really know the Lord Jesus and to walk passionately with Him, following in His footsteps. Many are fed up with living a cultural Christianity that is powerless and devoid of authentic Christ-life. They want Him to be what defines their futures, not public opinion or what the world has to offer.
One time when I was reading through the four Gospels, I took a pencil and underlined everything about Jesus the man. I wanted to see how the One who spoke the universe into existence lived out His life on earth. As I read, I saw how He lived in total dependence on His Father, choosing not to use His God-powers. He faced real struggles, becoming hungry, thirsty and weary as He went about doing His Father’s will.
In His life as a man, He was demonstrating for us what kind of life we should live. When we come to the Scripture with a desire to see Him, understand Him and follow Him, it will come alive, painting Jesus right before our eyes.
We will see Him taking time to walk through a forbidden land full of “untouchables” to talk to one little woman at a well so she could find the Living Water (see John 4:1-30).
We’ll see Him walking among stench and dirt and rotting flesh, pus and blood oozing out everywhere, to look for one man who had been waiting 38 years to find healing (see John 5:1-9).
We’ll be able to watch His response when the religious leaders—people who were respected as the authority of Scripture and doctrines and godliness—came to Christ and said, “Jesus, what do you say about this woman caught in adultery? You are a Jew. You know the law. Look at her. Our law says to stone her to death” (John 8:4-5, paraphrased).
If we stand close enough to see His eyes, we’ll see there is no condemnation. There is no spite. If anyone could have condemned this woman, it was Jesus because He was absolutely righteous and perfect. But He didn’t. Once all her accusers had gone, He said to her, “You mean nobody did anything to you? No one condemned you? Listen My child, I don’t condemn you either. Go and sin no more” (John 8:10-11, paraphrased).
I’ll never forget one of those strange experiences I had on an airplane once. I happened to get an upgrade and landed in a first-class seat. There were only about five or six people in the whole cabin. And there was this lady sitting next to me. After a while, I realized she was someone really important. I said to myself, “I need to talk to her about the Lord.” But my heart began to pound. What would she think of me?
Then I reminded myself: If Jesus was the one sitting in my seat, He wouldn’t see this lady the way I did. He would see something more significant, more important, just like when He met the woman at the well.
I began to talk to her about the Lord. Come to find out, she was flying to India to meet with the highest officials of the country to talk about a huge loan commitment from the World Bank. I couldn’t believe I was sitting next to someone like that.
Did she receive Jesus as her Lord and Savior? Did she repent? No. But I did what I must, finally asking her, “Would you ask the Lord Jesus to come into your life and be your Lord? She said, “I will think about it.”
What I am saying is when we walk with Jesus, when we see His face, when we imagine it was Him sitting in our seat instead of us, we will see the way His heart responds to the people and situations around us. That is what He wants—not for us to come to a place of knowing it all but for us to come and understand Him and participate in His nature.
It has been a joy for me to see the School of Discipleship students I mentioned earlier learning to seek after Christ in this way. The year they spend with us at Gospel for Asia’s campus in East Texas is such a significant foundation for a life of seeking Christ and following wherever He leads. My dream is that hundreds more young people will join us in the days to come, setting aside all other desires or agendas for one year to simply understand more about Christ and become more like Him.
And my prayer for each one of us is that wherever we are in our journey, we will press forward into knowing Jesus and being His representatives, living as He lived in this world.
To learn more about the GFA Discipleship Program in Canada, please go here.
Click here, to read more articles on Patheos by Dr. KP Yohannan Metropolitan.