When I was a kid, I used to dream about meeting my favorite celebrity in person. This could have been a professional athlete, a TV or movie star… shoot, even a local newscaster seemed celebrity enough to me. I would think about being like that person. Oh to meet John Schneider or Tom Wopat (HUGE Dukes of Hazzard fan – so, yes, to have met Catherine Bach would have been pretty AWESOME). Or Erik Estrada from CHIPS. More recently, I remember sitting in a Shoney’s while I was in college, and I look over and see John Schlitt from Petra. I was star-struck. I loved Petra in college. Their brand of Christian “rock” fueled the tiny engine of faith I had during those college years as a young Christian.
What was it about these people that seemed larger than life? What kept me so fixated on meeting them during those year? I found myself pondering that question this week as I reflected on a recent message our pastor gave entitled Meeting Jesus. I was moved during this message on a very familiar passage, John 1:35-51, Jesus’ calling of His disciples. Each one: Andrew and an unnamed disciple, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel, all had a unique, divinely-appointed encounter with Jesus. They met Jesus! I want to meet Jesus.
Now, the cynic in me says I’ll hear the following responses:
The Non-Christian: “Meet Jesus? He is a man who supposedly lived 2,000 years ago and is dead now. You say you want to meet Jesus? That’s crazy.”
The Christian: “Meet Jesus? You already met Him when you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior. There is no need to meet Jesus again.”
I disagree with both. Here is what I saw on Sunday that just makes me want to know Christ more and more. Jesus came to be met. To be known. For us to encounter Him in the way we might encounter a celebrity, where we are so enthralled with the “glory” their lives represent that we just want to be near Him. To follow Him wherever He goes.
Have you ever been at a party and there is that one person that everyone loves being around? You know, every story they tell is followed by raucous laughter. Every time they moved to a room, they are followed by a crowd of people. They stand out. They are attractive. You just want to be near them.
Oh, how much more the Son of God, the man known as Jesus Christ, deserves my attention, adoration, affection, and my time. So, how do I meet Jesus? What does this mean differently in my life:
1. I look at what I’m seeking for contentment in my life, and as I approach Jesus I do so seeking to be with Him rather than get something from Him. It is there that we meet Jesus.
2. Go… Go seek Him! Go after Him. It won’t be perfect, but get going with it. Make time to seek, listen, and learn from Him.
3. Follow Him. Meeting Jesus should shape my life. It should cause me to look at my life and see the need to give up something… control, idols, fear, need for affirmation and approval… give it up because Jesus offers so much more.
4. Trust and know that He will change us. We all have areas we want changed. God knows I have many areas. Just as Jesus looked at Simon and told him “your name will be Cephas (Peter)”, Jesus looks on us and tells us we are not who we think we are. We are becoming something much better.
I think this is what is meant with Hebrews 12:2
We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
How have you met Jesus? What ways is Jesus shaping your life? Share your story. Tell the world. He’s worth it.