If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” (John 14:7-8)
Relate: It seems like every six months or so another book on who Jesus is will get published. Before I had to sell or give away pretty much everything in my house, I had a few of those books on my shelves. My favorite was Simply Jesus by NT Wright. Three others that made a bit of a splash a few years back are Zealot by Reza Aslan (which was mostly rejected century old scholarship repackaged and presented from a Muslim perspective), How Jesus Became God by Bart Ehrman (much better scholarship but with a horrible premise), and Jesus, a Pilgrimage by James Martin (far and away the best of these three).
One thing that is hard for even the best scholars and writers to avoid doing is place themselves into their interpretation of who Christ is. It almost seems as though the image presented of Jesus alters based on the preferences of each author. A common ridicule of the writings of nineteenth century German theologians is that they seemed to paint a picture of Jesus as a nineteenth century German theologian. As easy as it can be to criticize others, how often do we tend to do the same thing. I love Dominic Crossan but his political leanings seem to point towards a more political Jesus (just check out, Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography or another of his books, God and Empire) Sometimes, it seems almost as if the writings of these authors almost tell us more about the authors themselves than they do about Jesus.
React: That is why it is so important for the text, for the gospels, to be our primary source for who Jesus is. For those who are not pastors, are you spending more time getting into the word or listening to what someone else preaches from it? Are they even preaching the text or do they instead give motivational speeches that have some vague scriptural reference at the beginning? Pastors, are we spending more time digging into study and scholarship so that we might present it to others or are we truly digging in for ourselves letting the Living and the written Word change our hearts and shape our lives?
If you, those faithfully reading this, have been spending more time reading what I have to say than clicking on the link to read the daily Bible scripture, or prayerfully meditating on your own on the text from John, then God forgive me. I have failed in my job. Focusing in on the Relate and React segments on this devotional help you get to know me, and perhaps yourself a bit better. Far better to focus on the Read and allowing it to become your own Response. Then you are being obedient to Jesus command to know Him, that you might know the Father.
Jesus, I want to know You more. More than anyone else, God, help me to look to You. More than anything else, God, help me to listen to You…