Knowing or Loving Him.
In Matthew 15:8 Jesus says this about a group of religious leaders called, the Pharisees:
These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
They knew about God, but they didn’t LOVE him.
This description seems to describe most people. They have brought God into their minds, but they have never surrendered control of their lives and their love. It’s the difference between knowledge and intimacy.
In Luke 7, Jesus had been invited over to eat with Simon, a Pharisee. It became apparent that Simon had invited Jesus as his job, rather than as an honor.
For instance, the customary greeting for an honored guest would have been a kiss. To neglect the greeting kiss was the equivalent to openly ignoring somebody.
Another custom involved the washing of feet. If you truly wanted to honor the guest, you would do it yourself. At the least you were expected to provide water for the guest to do it for themselves.
For a special guest, you would provide them some olive oil for use on their head.
These were not just oversights. This was quite intentional. Jesus was ignored and insulted him.
Don’t miss the importance of this event in the Bible. He had been preparing his life for the coming of the Messiah. Yet he didn’t accept that Jesus was the Messiah, even though Jesus met the requirement for the Messiah stated in his own Scriptures. He knew all about Jesus, but he didn’t love Jesus. He didn’t put Jesus first in his priority.
How difficult is it for you to be demonstrative in a relationship with Jesus? What hinders you from being more open with your love? ______________________________________
When it comes to relationships, are you a “big forgiver” or a “stingy one”? Why? How does this tie in with your relationship with God? ________________________________
What do you learn from this story that could be applied to your life? ___________________________
Think about it: we love hearing and reading Bible stories. But if they don’t change our lives, they are just stories. The problem isn’t knowledge. The problem is that unless the knowledge brings love; it is just knowledge.
I am NOT saying, studding and learning about an individual is wrong. Jesus referenced, read, and quoted passages from the Old Testament about his Father. Knowledge can be a false indicator of love.
An example of that is available in many marriages today. Over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Many of those who are getting divorced, know quite a lot about their former spouses. The usual problem is that they didn’t place the person they are suppose to be loving in priority over themselves.
Clearly where there is true love there should be growing knowledge.
Part of the proof that I have an intimate relationship with my wife is how much I know about her. I know what kind of shampoo she uses. I know what makes her upset. But these things don’t bring us deeper in love. I need to be committed to her and what she needs, wants, desires, etc.; in order to be truly in love.
In our relationship with God, we need to realize that he is not impressed with my knowledge but how it brings us deeper in love. It won’t help my relationship if I can point out the religious traditions I have followed and the moral code I observed, unless I can show how it brought us together.
Knew, intimacy, commit
Probably the best biblical word for love/intimacy is the word “knew.” But this intimacy goes much deeper than knowledge. We see that in Genesis 4:1: Adam knew Eve his wife.
Here’s the best way to define “knew”.
To know completely and to be completely known.
It’s this intimate connection on every level is true love. It’s a beautiful picture that helps us get at what it means to really love God. One Hebrew scholar defines the word this way: “A mingling of the souls/spirits.”
So let us now take a look at how God wants to know and be known by us. In Psalm 139 We see this statement: O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.
This should completely change your life and the way you relate to God. Just as Jesus changed the life of the women who greeted Jesus in the Pharisee Simon’s home. Apparently she had herd Jesus teaching, and something happened in her heart. And maybe it was the way He looked at her. His eyes communicated her value and worth. She was a beloved daughter. And perhaps she knew that God loved her and he hadn’t given up on her, even if everyone else had.
She is so focused on Jesus that she forgets about herself. She is desperate to express the love and affection she feels for the Son of God.
But when she looks at Jesus, he seems to know what happened in her heart. He gives her a warm smile. He seems delighted that she has come, and he looks at her with the eyes of a loving father watching his beautiful daughter, as she enters the room
She is so undone by this that the tears come, just a few at first, and then more. With the benefit of her tears she washes his feet.
In the end, this prostitute who lovingly expressed her love is shown to make her a God lover. Here, then, is another important question:
Who am I most like in this story?
When is the last time you had a moment with God like this woman in Luke 7 had? When is the last time the tears streamed down your face as you expressed your love for him. When is the last time you Loved God with your WHOLE heart? __________________________________________
Jonathan Edwards was one man who made a difference. Born in 1703, he was perhaps the most brilliant mind America ever produced. A pastor, writer, and later president of Prince, he and his wife had 11 children. Of his male descendants:
More than 300 became pastors, missionaries, or theological professors;
120 were professors at various universities;
110 became attorneys;
60 were prominent authors;
30 were judges;
14 served as presidents of universities and colleges;
3 served in the U.S. Congress and one became Vice-President of the United States.
Jonathon Edwards … was just one man, but he positively affected hundreds and even thousands of his descendants after his death.
The destiny of those future generations is in your hands. The choices you make with your family today will determine the quality of life in your family tree for generations to come. That’s why one man can make a difference.
(From Point Man by Steve Farrar)