Before beginning, or getting immersed, in a relationship, we're better off knowing as much as we can about a person's nature, character, values, and beliefs. Haven't we all been hurt, or betrayed, by someone we thought we knew? Or, pleasantly surprised?
For us, who want to follow Jesus, knowing who he is becomes even more critical. Our lives, our eternal destinies, depend on that.
Each day for the last week or so, I read a paragraph in the Gospel of John, and pondered the passage as I labored on my patio. The details about eight traits of Jesus in just five verses astounded me, and I encourage you to use this post to reflect more deeply on each of them, and to apply it to your life. Let's read those first five verses of chapter one, then I'll briefly comment on each trait.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not understood it."
1. "In the beginning" (vs. 1) reminds us of the opening of Genesis. This not only links Jesus to God the Father, but tells us that Jesus also has an eternal nature that transcends time.
2. "the Word" (1) uses the Greek word logos, or the word, the reason. It reminds us that Christianity isn't primarily emotional, nor traditional, but rational. We use our minds.
3. "with God" (1) clarifies that Jesus is a separate, discrete individual from the Father. OK, this and the next trait for the basis for two of the three persons of the Trinity.
4. "was God" (1) reveals that Jesus' nature was fully divine, just like God the Father. Although two individuals, they share a divine nature so closely entwined they are said to be one.
5. "Through him all things were made" (3) reinforces their shared role in creation. Genesis says God created the heavens and the earth; Jesus shared the job. His authority over life flows from being the author of life.
6. "In him was life" (4) echoes the last trait, that Jesus is the essence and source of maximum life. Obviously, people live without Jesus, but the fullness of life can only be experienced with him.
7. "the light of all mankind" (4) tells us that light, the light that gives openness and transparency and understanding and reality, comes from Jesus. Although all mankind has access to this light, only as we link our lives to Jesus can we see most clearly.
8. "the darkness has not understood it" (5) opens up the concept of worldview. How do our assumptions shape how we interpret life? If we assume no spiritual reality exists, then we can't begin to understand what Jesus is all about. He doesn't make sense. He doesn't have the right to tell us what to do. Or, to see reality in the fullness of light, we need to be open to going beyond our earlier assumptions and view life as Jesus does. Does that make sense?
These eight aspects of Jesus will determine our closeness with him. The more we accept them, and allow them to shape our lives, the more we'll know the true Jesus. Those we resist keep us from fully connecting with him.
Kick Starting the Application
Were any of these eight new to you? Do you struggle with accepting any of them? Now comes the hard part. I encourage you to go through this entire list. Evaluate where you stand. Examine how fully realizing that will change your life, your connection with Jesus. And, feel free to share your results with us, either here or on Facebook. Blessings.