“I want to know Him.” Philippians 3:10
It was some thirty years after walking with and serving Jesus that the apostle Paul wrote these words. Some would think it a bit curious that one as experienced in the things of God as Paul, would still be driven by that one over-arching desire, to know Him better. But it was the all-encompassing pursuit of his life ever since his Damascus road conversion when Jesus first revealed Himself to him in a blinding vision with the words “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” The unfathomable grace of this Jesus, who would choose to arrest a man from being a persecutor and call him rather to be an ambassador, forever captured Paul’s heart. Paul’s life from that moment on was dedicated to getting to know this Jesus better and better, who had intervened and shown him such unmerited grace and mercy.
Norman Grubb, beloved Christian author of the past century, wrote an autobiography entitled “Once Caught No Escape.” I have often thought that title aptly encapsulates the story of every follower of Jesus who like Paul has been apprehended by His grace. It is lifelong quest to seek to comprehend such grace and mercy calling us out of darkness into His marvelous light, even while we were yet sinners, separated from Christ, without hope and without God. (1 Peter 2:9, Romans 5:8 & Ephesians 2:12)
Paul knew from personal experience the preeminence of getting to know Jesus and made it a concerted effort of prayer for the church. In writing to his beloved Ephesians about the same time he penned “I want to know Him” to the Philippians he said, “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better.” (Ephesians 1:17 NIV) It was likely he had in mind the words of Jesus Himself from His final great prayer for the church before His departure, which emphasized the very same thing, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3 NIV)
It is significant and fitting for me, as I begin a new year and stand poised to enter into a new chapter in my life after 40 years of pastoral ministry that I find myself groaning from within with that selfsame desire, to know Him better. I am realizing as never before how little I really have begun to grasp the width, the length, the height and the depth of the love of my Savior Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:18) What greater purpose is there than to dedicate ones life to knowing Him? None! And there is nothing better that can prepare a person for heaven and eternity with Him!
Although it has been my practice for many years to annually read through the Bible, this year in addition I want to read and reread the Gospels and the accounts of His life and words. I do so specifically in pursuit of a deeper revelation of the nature and character of Jesus. All I can say is after all these years of walking with Him and serving Him, like Paul, I only want to know Him better.
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