Our pastor has been preaching a series of sermons on the difference between being a fan and a follower of Jesus. This Sunday we looked at the difference between having a knowledge of Jesus and have an intimate relationship with Jesus. While you need to have a knowledge of Jesus in order to have an intimate relationship, you can have knowledge of Jesus and completely miss the intimacy. The Scripture reference was the story of the Sinful Woman that came and washed Jesus feet with her tears and hair. This is a powerful story. (Read it here.)
As Pastor David preached he said something that was funny at first glance, but after I gave it more thought really made me think. Am I “Pro-Jesus” or am I with Jesus? I will be splitting the proverbial hair here, but it just struck me odd after thinking about it. It can be so easy to be satisfied with being around Jesus, being near Jesus, being close to Jesus that we never push forward to being with Jesus. The idea is that we can be in the same room, but never engage in the conversation.
I don’t want to just be someone who is known for liking what Jesus stood for. Or knowing everything there is to know about Jesus. I want to be known by him. This is the idea that Paul is getting after when he says that there will come a moment when all of this will change.
12 Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Corinthians 13:12, NLT)
There it is. God’s way of knowing will becoming my way of knowing. That is going to be a glorious day. When we are “Pro-Jesus” we are only interested in the exterior. How does this look? What do other people think? This was the problem with the man who invited Jesus to have a meal with him. He invited Jesus, failed to pay customary courtesy and then becomes indignant when another, the sinful woman, outshines the host, even when it was completely inappropriate. Simon the Pharisee missed out on the greatest opportunity of his life, and for what? He missed it because he was looking at the wrong person.
The sin of religious piety and of false humility will always lead to a skewed perspective of how things ought to be. As soon as the woman came in and began to worship Jesus, because that is what we have to call it, the “holiest” man in the room had this thought, “If this man [Jesus] were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner” (Luke 7: 39b, ESV). And, as if on cue, Jesus answers the mans thoughts and puts him in his place.
The bottom line is that we should never be satisfied with being mere acquaintances with Jesus. We should be willing to go the ends of the earth for Jesus. Even if, or better still, especially when it costs us our dignity and self-respect. The sad reality is that for many of us who claim to be Christians, if Jesus asks us to give up our dignity and self-respect, we would rather have him move along until he comes to his senses.
We can know how deeply our commitment is rooted when we consider how far we are willing to go to show our devotion and faithfulness to God and his Son. Until we know how far we will go, we will not truly know or understand how valuable Jesus is in our lives.