Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Knowing Jesus

One day, somebody asked me whether I knew Jesus. Having been a Christian for more than twenty years, I thought the answer was an obvious one, and so I said, "I have been a Christian for a long time." But she asked me again,"Do you know Jesus?" I said, "I know he died and rose again." Still she persists," Do you know Jesus? Is he your friend?"

And that struck me suddenly. No, I never knew Jesus personally. I learnt much about him, just as we study characters in Literature. And my mental image of him consists of the stereotypes in moves and posters. Besides, there is a lurking fear that Jesus really quite disapproves of me, since I am only too aware of all my failings. It terrifies me to think of standing in front of Jesus, a sinless, perfect being.

Contemplating what the Bible says on this topic, I realised that this is a completely wrong impression of Jesus. As if a sweet voice was whispering clearly into my mind, I had a new revelation about him.

Jesus is very patient
Jesus is very patient because he understands. Son of man, he knows the weight of the flesh. So much of our sinful desires, emotions and distractions come from our having to carry this flesh with us. We fear for our health, worry about what to eat and what to wear, and become defensive when we feel pain. Jesus knows that I get grumpy when I am hungry, and when I am tired, I want to leave church meetings. He knows that I like peace and quiet, and so I exchanged angry words with my neighbours. So many things about the flesh can make us sin: jagged nerves, haywire hormones, wounds on the body and the toils of life. Without this corruptible flesh, this mortal coil, how free and joyful life could be!

There are so many things we want to do that we cannot, and so many things we do not want to do yet we have to. Jesus understands that sometimes, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

One day, we can look forward to a new body in eternity, but until then, Jesus understands. That is why he came to redeem us from the wages of sin.

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