Knowing Him
John Telgren

When we went to camp this summer, we started looking for people we knew from past years. Some we recognized immediately; others looked vaguely familiar because it had been a couple of years since they had been to camp.

When it comes to Christ, how do we recognize Him? Many think of the Jesus paintings of the Caucasian man with the long face, slender nose, and halo around His head. Those who have studied art recognize that these artists did not intend to render a photographic representation of Christ, but an interpretation of His character. Such is the nature of art.

Would you consider it a great thing to have known Jesus when He walked the earth? How marvelous would it have been to watch Him feed 5,000 people? How awesome to have watched Him heal a sick person, or raise someone from the dead! How inspiring to have heard one of His sermons in person! How great it would have been to sit at His feet as He taught.

What is amazing is that none of His disciples made a big deal about having seen and known him in person. Peter doesn't reminisce about walking with Him on the way to Jerusalem. James, the brother of Jesus, does not talk about what it was like to grow up with Jesus. John, one of the Lord's closest companions, avoids highlighting His close relationship to Jesus by not identifying himself by name in his Gospel.

Why did they avoid this? It may be that knowing Jesus as He is now is far superior to knowing Him as he was. When He walked this earth, people saw Him as a human, a teacher. After His resurrection, the New Testament writers regularly referred to Him as Lord and sometimes as God. Knowing Him as crucified and risen Lord and Savior who is our advocate to the Father when we sin is far superior to the fleshly son of a carpenter.

"…and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know {Him} {in this way} no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” ( 2 Cor. 5:15-17).

They no longer knew Jesus according to the flesh. When we think of Jesus, we should not think of Him as some carpenter we can read about in an ancient book. We should think of

Him as a daily presence in our lives. He told his disciples He was with them to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). He is with us to the end of the age as our Lord (Rom. 10:9), High Priest (Heb 2:17), our interceder (Heb. 7:25), our Advocate (1 John 2:1), and our friend (John 15:13-15). We can have a daily, personal relationship with Jesus according to the Spirit which is far superior to knowing Him according to the flesh.