There it was in the magazine rack amongst all the juicy titles: “9 Practices for Better…,” “12 Ways to Know your Man is…,” “The Scandal Comes to Light, Interview with …” This particular title stood in stark contrast to those around it. Printed above a picture of a large towering cross against a cloudy background was this title, “Jesus: 89 Inspiring Ways to Know Christ.” I was shocked to find any “religious” materials in the grocery store checkout lane. After my initial shock wore off, I began to wonder , “How are they getting 89?” I was hooked. I had to pick it up. I did not buy it. At $12.99, it hardly seemed like a worthy investment, but it warranted a thumbing through while the lady in front of me worked out her coupons.
Printed in its propaganda was this statement, “This special edition magazine exalts Jesus by giving an overview of 89 names and attributes described in the Bible.” Not what I thought. I expected 89 “inspiring” ways to get to know the Christ on a spiritual level. I expected 89 denominational ideas on how to have a relationship with the Christ. Instead, it was 89 different ways the Bible refers to the Christ by name. You can come to know more about Christ through such a study. However, there is a more important issue at hand; to know and to be known by the Christ, the Savior.
I know that most people don’t know the Jesus of the Bible. They know the Jesus filtered through their own social and philosophical ideals. This filtered Jesus makes them feel good about themselves and their current state. How do I know this? I know this because people change the teachings of the Biblical Jesus. They change the message to fit their needs. They sanitize it, wrap it in plastic and put it on the shelf. To them Jesus has become an icon of their own spirituality. The real words in red, when read in context, make people feel uncomfortable and should shake us loose from conformity to the world. When applied, they convict the heart and move it to cry out to the Savior of the world, “My Lord and my God!” The heart that says this is obedient to His commands .
The other side of knowing Christ is to be known by Him. Matthew 7:20-23 introduces an uncomfortable concept of the Biblical Jesus. In verse 20, we are known by our actions or fruits. Verses 21-22 mention that on the day of judgment there will be people talking about all the things they thought were “spiritual” that they did. Jesus’ response will be, “I never knew you” (v. 23). The key is in verse 21. It is not about doing what we think is spiritual but rather doing the will of the Father in heaven. There are not “89 inspirational ways” to know Christ. There is simply one inspired way–conform our hearts and minds to the will of the Father.
via Chapman church of Christ