If you must know, the absolute best way of knowing God, is through knowing Jesus.
We’ve established that knowing God makes it easy for us to believe and receive from Him, and to serve Him. We’ve also talked about knowing God through the lives of Old Testament people and His relationship with them.
But by far the best way to know how God exactly is like is through knowing Jesus.
Jesus came as a Man to reveal God in the flesh and God’s exact nature and character (John 17:25-26, Hebrews 1:3). Jesus Himself said that whoever has seen Him has seen God the Father (John 14:9).
The Bible records for us in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) how Jesus interacted with people. It was always consistent.
Jesus was never religious
Jesus wasn’t anything like the religious leaders (the Pharisees and Sadducees) who lowered the law to a “keepable standard” and who carried about with a “holier-than-thou” attitude, looking down on the overt sinners and social outcasts.
He didn’t water down the law, but always brought it to its pristine absolute standard, to show up man’s self-righteousness and bring them to the end of themselves. He never put up barriers between Himself and anybody. In fact, He decried the behaviour of the religious leaders, and readily welcomed those with nothing to offer and were emptied of themselves.
Jesus never turned away anyone who needed healing or a miracle
The leader of a synagogue whose faith wasn’t quite there yet, but had a dying daughter who desperately needed saving. The centurion with a sick servant, and the Canaanite woman with a demon-possessed child, who as Gentiles weren’t supposed to partake of the blessings of healing yet. A couple who needed more wine at their wedding, although it wasn’t time for Him to show Himself yet. A severely demon-possessed man who wasn’t even looking to be delivered.
Jesus attended to and supplied all their needs.
In so many places, the Bible tells us Jesus healed ALL who were sick that came to Him. Not a single person who looked to Him needing Him was left wanting.
Jesus always focused on the people’s needs and not His own
As the Bible tells us, God demonstrated His love for us in this, that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8).
He came, even though we weren’t expecting Him or looking for Him. He went about doing good and healing all, even though the people He came to didn’t realise who He was.
And He paid the ultimate sacrifice by taking our place at the cross, even though it cost Him untold agony and He’d rather have avoided it if He could. He took all the sufferings we were supposed to get upon Himself, even though we were oblivious, ignorant and unconcerned, including those who were at the cross.
To be plain honest, none of us cared for it when He did it – not one, not even the disciles. But Jesus did it anyway, because He knew that’s what we needed. It didn’t matter what any of us thought.
Because that’s what pure love and grace looks like.
Jesus was never concerned about how others saw Him. He simply loved them at their needs.
He preached the gospel and proclaimed the truth about Himself, even when it wasn’t well received. To those still strong in self, He told them what they needed to hear, even though it didn’t win Himself instant adoration and worship (and in fact sometimes murderous reactions instead).
Neither did He seek for glory and adulation to be heaped upon Himself. Indeed, He would often try to keep a low profile, shying away from crowds to minister to a single person in need, and then telling that person to keep what He’d done for them to themselves.
But grace is too good not to be shared and broadcasted.
When we see Jesus as He really is in the Bible, knowing Jesus and falling in love with Him simply results.
Knowing Jesus on a personal level
Now let’s take it a step further, from knowing Jesus broadly based on how He was like with people in general, to how He was like personally with the same person over time. Because that more closely reflects our own personal journey of knowing Jesus.
Quite possibly the best illustration in the Bible is the life of the apostle Peter. The Bible records no less than 55 mentions of his name in direct interaction with Jesus, the most amongst the disciples. (Hint: Peter is a picture of you and me as believers in Christ.)
In one of their first meetings, Jesus borrowed Peter’s boat to preach to the crowd, and then helped Peter catch a boat-sinking load of fish following Peter’s own fruitless night. Peter immediately recognised Jesus’s deity and dropped to his knees in fear of His holiness.
Similarly, most of us start off with fearing Jesus as a holy God when we first encounter Him. We cower at the thought of His judgement and righteous anger when we consider our sins and lack of holiness.
But Jesus simply assured Peter and called him as a disciple, saying “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people” (Luke 5:10 NIV).
For a long time, Peter struggled with truly knowing Jesus and His heart of love and grace for him. Instead, he preferred to speak much of his love for the Lord, out of a sincere but misplaced zeal. A whole lot of faux pas on his part ensued as a result – rebuking Jesus, embarrassing himself.
We too often go through the same struggles. We sincerely want to do more for Jesus, often overlooking learning more about His heart of goodness for us. Which leads to a disproportionate focus on us and what we do, and wrong beliefs about God.
But Jesus never stopped loving Peter and seeing Peter for who He would make him to be. He stuck with Peter, correcting him, reminding him, assuring him, always pointing him back to the truth of Himself. He renamed him from ‘Simon’ (a wavering reed) to ‘Peter’ (a steady and solid rock).
Just as He never stops loving us and seeing us as perfect and complete in Him.
Peter experienced highs and lows in his spiritual walk, depending on when he was led by the Spirit and when he led himself.
Then the clincher. At the Last Supper, Peter pledged his undying loyalty and love to Jesus to the death, even after Jesus foretold that all of them would fail and desert Him according to prophecy (Matthew 26:31-35, Luke 22:31-34).
Of course, Peter failed. Majorly. He thought that was it between Jesus and him, that there’d be no return.
Yet Jesus used His final look before His face was punched into a pulp to look at Peter once again in love. It broke Peter’s heart even more, like nothing he’d ever known before.
And Jesus didn’t stop there. He relentlessly pursued Peter in restoring him. He made special mention of Peter in the angel’s announcement of His rising to His disciples, to assure Peter he wasn’t forgotten or excluded (Mark 16:7). If that wasn’t enough, He privately appeared to Peter to restore him personally (Luke 24:34).
And then Jesus restored Peter publicly in front of the other disciples in the same setting that he had betrayed Him, by a fire of coals. As He got Peter to acknowledge his realisation that his love for Him would never compare to His for him, Jesus entrusted the ministry of the church to Peter.
That is grace beyond our logical comprehension.
Through his greatest failure, Peter finally got the revelation of grace, the truth that Jesus embodied. It transformed him and grew him incredibly, when he realised that he could rest and be forever secure in Jesus’s love that would always surpass his own.
That is the revelation we need to have.
Even in your greatest failure, know that Jesus still loves and sees you the same. And He will turn that failure around by His grace into your greatest good for His glory.
It’s the revelation that set Peter totally free from the burden of his conscience, so much so he was no longer bothered about his failures, being so aware of his forgiven identity in Christ.
It turned him into a great leader and pillar of the early church. He would preach and thousands would get saved. He was so full of the power of God that his shadow would heal the sick. And his love for the Lord consequently excelled so much that he did so much more, even writing epistles to grow the church spiritually.
That’s what will happen to us too, when we start knowing Jesus and His grace and love for us personally.
Jesus hasn’t changed – and He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Don’t wait for others to tell you about Jesus. Start knowing Jesus for yourself, and start enjoying Him today.
Because when you encounter Jesus, you encounter grace.