It’s a funny old place, the world in which we live, the time in history that we inhabit. Social media is transforming our society at such a pace that it is hard to keep up. It’s possible for us to be totally connected at all times, day and night, and yet completely disconnected and alone at the same time. There are “friends” whose faces I see and voices I hear on a daily basis who I have never even met in real life. They feel familiar and I care about them from a distance but they have no idea that I exist. The same can be true of celebrities or online preachers – in the event of a crisis they would most definitely not provide me with any sort of assistance or friendly support because, let’s be honest, they wouldn’t know me from Caesar. I could crash into them with my Sainsbury’s trolley and they would not have a clue that I follow their on-line life like a soap opera. Occasionally though, when you are “friends” with your friend’s friends, you might actually get to meet them in real life and that is just the best because then there is the potential for real connection. I’ve met some very cool people that way. Apparently my friends have good taste in friends. It is still weird though.
I was thinking about this when I was reading John chapter 5 – Jesus is busy healing the sick and preaching good news to the poor but not everyone is happy. He was causing offence by doing some of this on the Sabbath and because He was calling God His Father. Some of the Jewish leaders got their knickers in a proper twist and wanted to kill Him. Jesus tells them;
Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. John 5:19-20
Jesus’ whole purpose was to point to the Father – everything He did was to make the Father known to us. But the very people who were the experts in God’s word and God’s plan didn’t recognise God’s word made flesh when He stood in front of them, they didn’t notice God’s salvation plan when He walked up and tapped them on the shoulder.
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-40
You wouldn’t think that it could be possible would you? To have spent your whole life diligently searching, watching and waiting, and then when He finally looks you in the eye and offers you the very thing you were looking for, eternal life, you are offended because it didn’t look the way you expected it to. Jesus tells them to listen to the witnesses; John is like a lamp showing the path, God’s word told them what to expect, even Moses and the Law were like sign posts pointing to Jesus and yet they still didn’t recognise Him.
I was asked to go and take a theology class last week. Now I am an absolute whole-hearted, bible-loving nut – I believe every word is breathed out by God and that I need God’s word to live more than I need bread or tea or even chocolate, but somehow in my head the word theology is associated with intellectual study and I don’t really see myself as that sort of person. The whole car journey there I was battling in my head with the thought “I am not a theologian” but then I felt God interupt me and ask me what the word meant. Theology means the study of God! I may not be an intellectual student but knowing God and getting to know Him better is my whole reason to live – it’s what I want to spend every moment of every day doing – knowing Him. I felt Him remind me of the difference between knowing someone in the way you do when you study them in a classroom or read about them in a book which is so different from when you sit down with someone for a coffee and get to know them in person. It’s like the difference between following someone’s social media and sitting down to eat dinner and talking to them. I don’t want to just know about God, I want to Know Him – to live my life discovering what things make Him smile or cry or laugh. What do things look like from His perspective? What does He want to say to me today? Reading the biography of a friend is a different experience than learning about a stranger. The Jewish leaders knew a lot about God – they had an ology in the subject but when they met Jesus they had no idea who He was!
So that’s my heart-felt prayer this week – to know Him not just know about Him. I am so grateful for the Holy Spirit who comes along side and loves to make Jesus known just like Jesus loves to show me the Father. And I’m praying that for you too. He doesn’t call us servants but sons. He doesn’t call us students but friends! Amazing.
Thanks for reading. Much love Rach x