Have You Heard Him, Seen Him, Known Him?

**I originally published this article on this blog’s previous website in 2011.  I was reminded of the same theme recently and am reposting it with a few minor edits.**

The title question comes from an old hymn we sing in our church.  It’s a beautiful hymn that points towards knowing Christ as a real and living Person.

This post also gives a glimpse into “what it is we do” as an organic expression of the church.

I’m part of an “organic” church that meets in a home.  For most of my life, I’ve been part of traditional churches where a pastor preaches on Sunday, the congregation listens, and kids go to Sunday School.  If someone would have asked me if I knew Jesus, I would have probably said, “Sure, I know Him.  I’m saved.  I said the sinner’s prayer and was baptized.  I read my Bible.  I go to church.  So, yeah, I know Him.”

(Note that this doesn’t mean that no one can know Jesus in a deep way if they have a similar experience of traditional church.  I try to avoid such sweeping generalizations.  But it wasn’t the case for me, and I think the points below apply to anyone.)

I’ve realized in the past few years that that answer seems to fall flat.  I don’t want to just know facts about Christ, nor do I want the extent of my knowing of Christ to be based on the event of saying a prayer and getting baptized.  Although those are important events, isn’t there more to having a relationship with Christ than that?

As a husband, I don’t presume to know all about my wife just because we said marriage vows at a wedding ceremony.  Knowing my wife is much deeper than that.  It takes work, sacrificial love, conversation, quality time together.  And after over 13 years of knowing my wife, I am still far from truly knowing her (which is an exciting thought because there is so much more to be explored and known).

In our church, our desire, goal, and hope is to learn who Jesus the Christ is.  Not the facts and statistics, but the Person.  Who is this Jesus?  What makes Him tick?  What is He all about?  What is He up to?  What does He want from me?  What does He want from us all together? How do we figure all of this out?

Well, that’s a long story, but it started with someone describing Him to us.  Someone who has gone down this path of knowing Him deeply before us.  Someone who could remove the veil of this world and reveal the true nature and person of Christ.  Someone who could cut through our pasts of religion, legalism, intellectualism, and self-centeredness.  And by this expanded view into who Christ is, we began to be able to see Him ourselves.  We began to share Him amongst ourselves, beholding His endless riches!

Now, imagine you asked me to describe the moon to you.  I’ve seen the moon plenty of times.  I’ve even seen it through a telescope, so I could give you some general features of the moon.  It’s usually a sort of white color, it is round, and it has craters all over it.  Now, imagine asking an astronaut who has walked on the moon what it is like.  Of course, they can give you the facts and figures, but they can also give you the first hand experience of actually walking and living in the moon’s environment.  That is what this person (actually it was a few people) did for us.

They shared with us the land of Christ through which they had actually walked. This sighting of Christ did not occur overnight, and as with my wife, there is still much more to explore and see of Jesus.  As a church, we pursue Him together in many different ways, most of which look nothing like what most people would consider “church”.  Most importantly, we pursue Him together as we live in community with each other.  We are learning to live together by His indwelling life, and what it means to be an expression of Him in this world.

So back to the original question.  Have you heard Him, seen Him, known Him?  I thought I had.  But thankfully, I listened to the still, small whisper inside that said, “Maybe there’s more.”

In time, I have learned that our Lord, Jesus, wants to be known by me and you to a deeper level than any of us can imagine. Will you respond to His simple call to hear Him, see Him, know Him?

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2 thoughts on “Have You Heard Him, Seen Him, Known Him?

  1. yes that is exactly right Mark–I call it the difference between epistemological knowledge about someone or something and ontological knowing and experiencing someone or something.

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