by Mo Nakatsui
During Passion Week, before Jesus was betrayed to the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus said this: "Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was." John 17:1-5 (NASB)
Notice the connection between eternal life and knowing God. From the very beginning, God intended that man should know Him intimately. Right after Adam and Eve sinned, Genesis 3:8-9 says, “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” God knew that Adam and Eve had disobeyed, but He still sought them out because He wanted to continue the intimate relationship He had with them.
God gave Moses the first commandment [Deuteronomy 6:5], “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might,”
as an encouragement to man to know God intimately.
Throughout the Old Testament, God expressed His desire to be known by His people. He sent prophets to proclaim His desire for His people to worship Him and Him alone. He promised prosperity, if they obeyed and punishment, if they disobeyed. But alas His people went after other gods. In the fullness of time, God sent His Son to die on the cross that all who would accept the Son would be forgiven and be reconciled to God. But as John 17:3 implies, reconciliation is only the beginning to getting to know God intimately. That is God’s ultimate objective; that we might come to know Him intimately.
When Jesus walked the earth, He spent time with His disciples so that they might get to know Him. He taught them by involving them in the life of ministry and allowing them to ask questions along the way. Through getting to know Him, He was letting them get to know the Father (John 14:7). Today we don’t have Jesus in our physical presence, but we have His word and the Holy Spirit (John 14:25-26). It is through these that God intends for us to get to know Him intimately. Hearing preachers and Bible study leaders expound on the Bible are only means of introducing us to God. If you want to get to know God intimately, you need to spend quality time in the Bible, struggling to understand what it says. Consider that to develop an intimate human relationship it requires spending quality time with him or her; going through the struggles of life together. No amount of being told about him or her by others or having casual conversations with the person will lead to an intimate relationship. Similarly with God, if you want to know God intimately, you need to study the word of God with the help of the Holy Spirit, wrestle with it, ask questions, seek out answers, all the while knowing that God wants you to know Him intimately.
Starting Sunday, April 3, JK Lee and I will lead an Adult Christian Education class lasting for one year. The class will start right after the church school hour and continue through the end of second service. The emphasis of the class will be to teach you how to study the Bible. We will introduce you to various Bible study resources and how to use them. For practical application, we will be studying the end-times together by studying the books of Daniel and Revelation, and Matthew 24-25. Consider joining us and see if this class is for you. Due to the progressive learning inherent in the class, no one will be allowed to join the class after the first two meetings.