While some of us sing, “What a friend we have in Jesus” others may be thinking, “Well I don’t really know Jesus like that, but my friend does.”
Is Jesus your friend? Or is He a friend of a friend?
I briefly met Michael Jordan back in the day. I knew a lot about him based on what I read and what I heard other people say about him. But, I would never say that I know MJ. The internet gives us all types of information about people we’ve never met. You may think you know Oprah or Taylor Swift because you know a lot of facts about them. You may think you know what kind of person Bishop TD Jakes is because you watch him three times a week. But the reality is…knowing things about someone is not the same as knowing them.
I knew a lot about Jesus when I was a kid. By the time I got to college I knew a whole lot more. When it came to church, I knew when to clap and when to shout, “Amen!” In fact, I knew so much about Jesus that I had convinced myself that I had a deep relationship with him. Until…I realized I didn’t know him like that. We were cool but we didn’t have a real relationship, just us.
Almost ten years after being baptized, I was not sure if I would go to heaven if I died. That bothered me. I came to the conclusion that if I didn’t know then the answer was “No.” At that point I started to talk to God a lot more, I started studying my Bible instead of just reading it. I started listening to sermons throughout the week, not just on Sunday. Then, I started to have experiences with Jesus on my own. We built a relationship.
In John 14 Phillip asks Jesus to show him the Father. Jesus replies, “Have I been with you all this time Philip and you still don’t know who I am?” That was me. Is it you, too? Jesus had been teaching that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father. They were one. Was Philip not listening?
Here’s how to tell if Jesus is your friend…
Have you ever told Jesus something (and nobody else) and He brought an answer or solution, used other people who had no idea what you were going through?
Can you tell other people about Jesus from your personal experience?
Can you tell people how you met Jesus? What happened? Where were you? What did he say or do?
Do you talk to Jesus as much as you talk to your other friends?
Do you every choose to do what Jesus wants even when you want to do something else?
...Or just a friend of a friend.
Do you only interact with Jesus when you are with certain people or in a certain place?
When someone asks you about Jesus, can you only tell them what the Bible says?
When you don’t have the answer to something do you simply resign to “not question God?”
Do you talk to Jesus when you aren’t in crisis?
If someone comes to you to meet Jesus, would you have to send them to someone else to meet Him?
Let’s be real, we are never going to totally understand all that Jesus is. The whole Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in three persons thing…it’s hard to grasp. We’re going to miss some things like Philip did. We’re human. But, it is critical to know who Jesus is to you and why you believe in Him as your Lord and Savior…if you do. Read the list above one more time. Answer the questions. Where do you have the most “yes” responses? Is Jesus your friend or just a friend of a friend you know?
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