Saturday, December 27, 2008

Knowing About Him v. Knowing Him

When I was in college I took some New Testament courses from an atheistic professor. I remember being awed at how much he knew about Jesus, Paul, and the rest of the Bible. His knowledge seemed endless. Yet he did not know Jesus. He knew ABOUT Jesus.

It is somewhat like celebrity "worship." I have to confess that because I was a teenager in the 1980's, I adore Bon Jovi. Over the past twenty-five years, I think I have read every article and watched every show I could about him. I have looked him up on You Tube. His music makes me feel like a teenager again, so I indulge myself. There are times when I would prefer to be 16 instead of 38. But I have never met Jon Bon Jovi. I have never even spoken to him on the phone. Or e-mailed him. And, realistically, there is essentially no chance that I ever will meet him.

But, I can tell you all kinds of details about his life. Where he went to high school. How he came up with the names of some of his albums.

It is the same thing with Jesus. We can no all ABOUT Him. I have for the majority of my life had a lot of Bible knowledge. I have always done very well on Biblical categories on Jeopardy. Yet that is not the same as knowing Jesus Himself.

Unlike celebrities, actually meeting Jesus and getting to know Him personally is a very real option for all of us. I used to struggle with the concept of omnipresence. I used to think it is impossible for Jesus to be present with me and listen to my prayers for 30 minutes a day AND do the same for a billion other people in the world. It is like Santa visiting every house in the world and delivering presents to every house on one night. Impossible!!

But, I was thinking of Jesus and Santa in human terms. Santa requires magic to accomplish his goals. Jesus requires supernatural, divine abilities to accomplish His goals. Clearly, no human can be omnipresent to every person in the world. I can't even be omnipresent for two children in one house. I have to choose several times a day which child needs attention right now.

So for years I struggled with Jesus' ability to be there for every person. I used to think it was impossible for Jesus to be with me during my prayers, thinking He was busy doing more important things. How could He focus on so many different things? How much time and energy does Jesus have?

But then I realized how much I have seen technology change in my life. I worked in an office in high school and remember when we got a fax machine. I remember the office manager teaching a "lunch class" to all the employees to teach us how a fax machine works. We were all so amazed that we could insert a letter, dial a phone number and in just a few moments someone across town could read our letter!!

In law school I bought my first personal computer and discovered e-mail, which is even faster than faxing. A few years after I got out of law school, I bought my first cell phone. I giddily called my brother from the parking lot of the cell phone store. I had nothing important to tell him; I was tickled at the idea that I could make a phone call standing in a parking lot next to my car. Now, ten years later, we are debating if we need a home telephone anymore.

A few months ago we bought a scanner for our home and are trying to become a paperless household. We have scanned bags and bags of papers and can access it so easily with just a few mouse clicks. We can e-mail you documents now. I am wondering if my fax machine, that technology that wowed me just twenty years ago, is becoming obsolete.

All this talk about technology has a point. Just as technology can accomplish things at a speed and efficiency which I did not know existed, Jesus has a form of technology, called supernatural divine ability, which I do not understand. Maybe when I get to heaven I will at least be able to see God's "technology." Maybe not. But I have learned that even if I do not understand it or have the ability to use "omnipresence," Jesus can.

My inability to understand how my television obtains video and audio through a wire in the wall does not mean that the technology does not exist. I still don't understand how the navigation system in my husband's care works. Nevertheless, I use it to get me where I am going. I have always had faith in technology. Without understanding how a microwave works, I happily push some buttons and trust that my food will become hot.

I have learned to have the same faith in Jesus. Without understanding how Jesus can know and love every one in the world, I have to trust that He can.

This post was inspired by the book Simply Jesus and You by Joseph Stowell.


Jamie said...

I like this analogy :-)

{ jamie } said...

Great post! Head knowledge is so different than heart knowledge. Nifty how you related it to technology, too. :-)

Happy New Year!

Debbie Bonds said...

Victoria!! What an awesome writer you are. What a gift. Have you ever submitted any of your articles to be published? If not, you should!