How was your holiday season this year? I love the way someone summed up the holidays with 3 phrases: “Peace on earth”, “Goodwill to men” and “Batteries not included”. That pretty well covers everyone!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how so many people know Jesus in a superficial way, a religious way, a nod-to-God on the weekend way, yet so few seem to know Jesus personally. Have you met Jesus, really? Maybe it’s time to meet Jesus all over again for the very first time.
Jesus is incomparable! No one has ever claimed what he claimed about himself. No one has ever lived the life he lived. No one has ever launched a movement so large for so long. Whenever anyone encounters–really encounters–Jesus, you are never the same again!
There are over 129 million volumes of books in the entire world. Historian Philip Schaff vividly describes the uniqueness of Jesus’ influence: “This Jesus of Nazareth, without money and arms, conquered more millions than Alexander, Caesar, Mohammed, and Napoleon: without science and learning. He shed more light on things human and divine than all scholars and philosophers combined: without the eloquence of schools. He spoke such words of life as were never spoken before or since, and produced effects, which lie beyond the reach of orator or poet; without writing a single line. He set more pens in motion, and furnished themes for more sermons, orations, discussions, learned volumes, works of art, and songs of praise than the whole army of great men of ancient and modern times.” and it’s still growing-all with a 3.5 year gig!
Jesus is irresistible! Many religious systems claim him, but not one of them owns him. All religions don’t lead to Jesus, yet Jesus leads to the fulfillment of every religious and spiritual hope and dream in every culture of the world. He is relentlessly inviting people in every culture of the world into an adventure of life with him. He calls you to enthusiasm–a feeling of God within you!
Jesus is incarnational! He’s the only one who can change your life inside out. He’s not into reforming you; he’s into transforming you! He is the only one who can fill that inner hole in your soul! He is the only real possibility of changing your heart at the deepest level. To embrace his lifestyle is to embrace a new adventure every day–new appointments and opportunities!
When I think of how so many miss out on really knowing Jesus, I think of the story of an older woman who wants to learn to ride horses. One day on a walk, she saw a horse and decided to climb up on the horse without any assistance at all. She mounts the horse with great effort, and the tall, shiny horse springs into motion.
It gallops along at a steady and rhythmic pace, but the lady begins to slip from the saddle. Out of shear terror, she grabs for the horse’s mane but cannot seem to get a firm grip. She tries to throw her arms around the horse’s neck, but she slides down the side of the horse anyway. The horse gallops along, seemingly oblivious to its slipping rider.
Finally, giving up her frail grip, she leaps away from the horse to try and throw herself to safety. Unfortunately, her foot has become entangled in the stirrup. She is now at the mercy of the horse’s pounding hooves as her head is struck against the ground again and again. As her head is battered against the ground, she is mere moments away from unconsciousness or maybe even death when Frank, the Wal-Mart manager runs out to shut the horse off.
Just as the woman went through the motions and had quite an adventure, she never actually road a horse at all. It was all fake and not real. She can talk about this adventure for the rest of her life, but she never ever actually road a horse.
This is how I see the spiritual world. People know a lot about Jesus, but have never really met him–never had a personal encounter with this incredible, irresistible, incarnational Jesus. I want to encourage you to set out in the New Year to meet Jesus again, for the very first time-really! Begin tomorrow morning and make it a habit to say: “Good morning, Jesus! What do you have for me to do today?” I dare you!