- Our love and passion for Jesus must be rooted in the truth of who He is as revealed in Scripture by the Holy Spirit. Any ‘passion’ not completely anchored in His identity will be fleeting zeal and hollow sentiment.
In other words, intimacy must be based on the knowledge of who Jesus is. Knowledge is the fuel for love and relationship. We are most intimate with those whom we know at the deepest levels.
- Application to the Life of Christ
These simple, foundational truths I’ve just stated, necessitate that a large part of our relationship to Jesus and our passion for Him be based on the inspired account of His life.
- If our passion is for a Person, the most natural thing would be to devour every detail of His life available to us. Love demands entrance into every chamber, even the smallest, that it might discover more about the object of its affection.
- The Crisis of Ignorance
- It is becoming common for people in this generation to know very little about the life of Jesus and yet call themselves followers of Him without seeing any contradiction. Christianity is increasingly being defined by belief in very basic truth-formulas, participation in activities, and allegiance to issues rather than a loving preoccupation with Christ Himself.
- We must soberly ask hard questions about what our ‘relationship’ with Jesus is based upon and consider the possibility that we are often guilty of being more in love with the idea of Christ than with Jesus Himself. How can we relate to Jesus in authenticity if we have little regard for the story of His life – His past, His family, His friends, where He went and what He did
CHANGING OUR PERSPECTIVE: ENCOUNTERING GOD IN THE FLESH
Passion for the Life of Jesus
The reason why the Gospels are so rarely focused upon is not mysterious – it is because we are simply not that interested in His life. The question, therefore, is: how do we change our perspective so that His life is a precious treasure to us? One part of the answer is to come to the story of His life with a dynamic awareness of the divinity of the One on the pages. The Gospels themselves beckon us to see Jesus in this way.
It is one thing to read Paul affirming the divinity of Jesus, but there is something even more piercing to the heart when we hear Jesus Himself speak of the glorious heights of His deity. We are drawn into mystery of His own consciousness, where what is baffling to us is splendidly lucid (Mt. 22:41-46).
THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF CHRIST
9For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form… (Col. 2:9)
A. He is The Fullness of Revelation
The result of the unique identity of Jesus is that He is the fullness of Divine revelation. In Christ alone we find the definitive answers to the questions of “who is God?” and “what is He like?” The incarnation is God’s ultimate self-disclosure, accomplished through a perfect, sinless human life that will never end.
- He is the Word1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God…14And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn. 1:1-2, 14)
- He is Wisdom2…attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Col. 2:2-3)
- He is Light6For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)
- If we desire to grow in the knowledge and love of God we must do so by fixing our attention and affection upon the face of Christ and not simply mentioning His name in our rhetoric.
- Jesus is often viewed merely as the stepping-stone necessary to ascend into the knowledge of the Father or encounters with the Holy Spirit. Having received forgiveness, we subtly marginalize Him in favor of a host of other topics, causes, and experiences. (Jn. 14:8-10)
- Many are sincere but misdirected in their pursuit of God. Unless Jesus is the focal point, all movements toward the Divine will at the least end in frustration, if not confusion. We simply do not have the liberty to circumvent God’s design and decide to adopt a version of Christianity without the person of Christ at the focal point.
THE ONE NEEDFUL THING
All of this leads to the realization that the one needful thing in our lives is to gaze upon Jesus (Ps. 27:4, 9) and hear His words. In the gospels we find a feast of the glory of the LORD laid before us. With every heartbeat of Jesus of Nazareth the fullness of Deity was being put on display through the humanity to which He had chosen to cleave unreservedly.
- The Father Calls us to “Hear Him”
- The Mount of Transfiguration (Mt. 17:1-8, Mk. 9:1-8, Lk. 9:28-36, 2 Pet. 1:16-18)
- Mary of Bethany (Lk. 10:38-42; Mk. 14:3-9, Mt. 26:6-13, Jn. 12:1-8)
- Meditating Upon the Life of Christ
Starting with His precious words, we must make Jesus’ entire life the subject of our adoration. By joining Himself to the human story, Jesus has invited us to throw ourselves into His story. To ponder, muse, listen, and gaze is what the Bible calls meditation, and by engaging in this ancient practice we draw near until our ears hear His voice, our eyes behold His form, and our hands touch His skin (1 Jn. 1:1-3).
Taken From Stephen Venable – Passion for Jesus Conference Notes