to walk worthily of the Lord, pleasing him in all respects

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lent, Day 26: I want to know Christ

According to the fourth evangelist, John didn't know Jesus until he baptized him (John 1:31, 33). Yet Luke, and a myriad of Renaissance artists, would have us believe that from infancy on, John knew Jesus and pointed to him.

Perhaps there is a difference between where John and Luke got their information about John the Baptist. Or perhaps, the Baptist is admitting that until Jesus was baptized and the heavens opened and the dove descended, he didn't comprehend who Jesus was and what he, the Baptist, was involved in. Indeed, even if the fourth gospel doesn't know what Luke knows, I think it is true that John comes to see Jesus in a completely different light right at the baptism.

The heavens opened. The dove descended. God spoke. And John was a witness to it all.

It is one thing to think things, to hold views, to have an abstract or theoretical faith. It is something else entirely to come face to face with the reality of what one believes, to see its truth and to encounter its realness. To know it. To know Him.

Where has your faith been made real for you? I've not had John's experience, to be sure, but I've had moments. After my dad died, the way Christian people surrounded me - I still feel the sense of being buoyed I had those days, and in that feeling I knew the reality of what I believed. The impromptu birthday party I was a part of in St. Petersburg, Russia, where a group of us sat in a small student flat and feted the pre-teen daughter of one of my students. What fellowship we had that evening. It was an epiphany for me. The day Shelly told me that she would love me and support me even if I didn't finish my dissertation, a statement which freed me like nothing else to finish. God's voice, pure and simple; his gracious voice.

I knew God before these moments; but I experienced him in these moments, and my knowledge became real.

In my observing Lent, God, please help me to let go of the things that prevent me from knowing you, from experiencing and relating to you. Let me count all things as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing you, Christ Jesus, my Lord.

Us in Heidelberg

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