When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples,
“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."
- Matthew 16:13-18
When I think about my life and my own salvation, I mean, my salvation was RADICAL! In a moment, Jesus set me free from addictions, eating disorders, depression, years of lies, bondage, sin, and wrapped me in true love for the first time in my life. It was a supernatural miracle that could only DEMAND a radical response. I had to give Jesus my LIFE.
I almost immediately jumped into a program of radical believers, like I aspired to be, but I quickly noticed my lack; my lack of knowledge of God and the Bible, my lack of understanding, everything! I didn't grow up in church like most of them did, I didn't know the stories, the theology, the verses, the simple truths. I decided right then and there, I had to know it all! I couldn't be "that girl" that knew nothing. So, I bought the One-Year Bible and began my journey to know everything about this God that had saved me.
And I did it, I read the entire thing in a year! I could finally tell people all about the stories, where to find certain things, and the basic outline of this thing we call the Word of God. But something was still missing; I now knew OF Him, but I found that I didn't actually KNOW Him.
I think we, even as the Body, can know the great stories and acts of God, but do we actually KNOW HIM? Do we understand His love? His compassion? His mercy? Have we actually spent time WITH Him enough to recognize Him? Is God just a set of stories we know about, or does He walk with us and have a personal relationship with us everyday?
When Jesus asks Peter in Matthew 16:15, "But what about you? Who do YOU say I am?" Peter KNOWS who Jesus is (the Messiah, the Son of God), not just what other people say that He is. And that could only have come through spending time with Jesus. And when Jesus tells Him, "and on this rock I will build my church", the ROCK that Jesus is talking about is the knowledge of Him! The rock and foundation that the church must be built on is the true knowledge of Jesus, of KNOWING who He truly is, not just what we hear OF Him!
“And THIS is eternal life, that they KNOW you.”
- John 17:3
We can actually KNOW Him, experience Him, walk day by day with Jesus, because He is a REAL man, right now up in Heaven, flesh and blood! A real man that loves me more than I can ever comprehend. And when I see Him face to face one day, when I get to Heaven, I want there to be FAMILIARITY in that gaze, to be memories of our life together, knowing that He is what I have waited my whole life for. He is the reason I wake up in the morning! And I will stop at nothing until every breath, every thought, every second is for Him and His glory. I am my Beloved’s and He is mine, nothing in this world will separate me from His love. And I challenge you to let this be YOUR story.
So, would we be a people who truly KNOW the man Jesus, not just know ABOUT Him, personally and individually, so that one day when we stand before Him, that we would recognize Him, and He would recognize us. Would we be a people living a LIFE of TOTAL abandonment for the sake of knowing Him, willing removing anything and everything that hinders love for Jesus and our ability to experience Him.
You may take three steps forward and two steps back, but never take your eyes off of His gaze. Get back up and run to Him, confident of His love and enjoyment over you even in your struggles, even in your weakness. He is with you every step of this PROCESS, it is a journey, and He does not love you ONLY once you reach spiritual perfection, but EVERY small step ravishes His heart, and that truth is what will allow you to get back up again. He DELIGHTS IN YOU! Not because of what you do, but because of who you are to Him, you are HIS, and He is never disappointed in your messy, not perfect pursuit of Him. You never need to apologize for being radical either, you never need to apologize for being over the top, but allow yourself to be an extravagant lover of the one who IS love, the One who gave His life up because He wanted YOU to be with Him where He is forever. So let us, His Bride, be built on the rock of truth, on the true knowledge of this man.
P.S. Here is a great sermon by the incredible Dana Candler that may help if you want to dive even deeper into this topic :)
Renewing our Pursuit in the Knowledge of God- Dana Candler