Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Following First-Hand

"Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." Jn 21:25

It's interesting to note that Jesus said and did so much more than what we know about from the gospel accounts. He was the Son of God, the Lord of Lords, and the Creator of the Universe walking around in human flesh. Everything he said and did had divine importance. But he didn't share it all with us. In a day and time where we tend to overshare our lives through social media, Jesus' approach is quite opposite. Jesus obviously didn't have social media, but if he had, his account wouldn't be one of the most active. He wouldn't post photos or tweets every time he healed or preached. He wouldn't have posted his travel plans or checked in at destinations on Facebook. He could have, certainly. He even could have commissioned someone to follow him around and record every second of each day he spent on Earth. But He didn't. For some reason, Jesus wasn't much on advertising Himself.

In fact, if we read the gospels carefully, we discover that Jesus was a bit secretive about his identity. In Mark's gospel account, we find Jesus telling some "not to tell others about him" (Mk 3:12). There may be several reasons for this "messianic secret" as theologians call it, but one specific reason stands out to me. I think Jesus wanted people to experience Him first-hand. Instead of just hearing about him, reading about him, or stalking him on Facebook, Jesus wanted people to know him. Really know him. Jesus's "secretive" nature required people to take time and effort to get to know him, to search him out, to walk beside him and figure him out. Still today, I think Jesus wants the people he created to know him personally, individually, intimately. He wants real relationships, not Facebook followers.

And that makes so much sense! Think about it. Compare seeing a picture of the Grand Canyon to actually standing on the edge of it in person. Somehow, there's a cheapness that accompanies second-hand information. But so often, that's what we settle for! We're good at hearing about it, reading a post about it, seeing images of it, and settling for surface-level familiarity. As Christians, we're great at studying about God, talking about Him, and singing about Him at church without every really meeting with him personally. And oh the fullness and richness we sacrifice when we settle for second-hand!

Go back to that pic of the Grand Canyon. When you hear a story and see a picture of matchless beauty, aren't you drawn to go see it for yourself? Absolutely. But do you go? Do you actually take the trip to experience it first-hand, or do you stop at the idea?

I have a hunch that the type of Christians that influence the world for good, that really make a mark and leave an enduring legacy, are the ones who know Jesus firsthand, not just follow him on Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! A lot has happened lately that really opened my eyes to the fact I was more of a "Facebook" friend of Christ than a true follower.