Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eternal Life is To Know Him

“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come.  Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  (John 17:1-3  NKJV emphasis added)

Jesus prayed to the Father that we may have eternal life.  This eternal life is not a future event.  It is a present day experience that He longs for us to encounter daily – to know Him.

The Greek word for “know” is ginosko (Strong’s #1097).  It is defined as to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of, perceive, feel, to become known, understand, recognize – to know.

Merriam Webster online dictionary definition: to recognize the nature of: discern: to be acquainted or familiar with : to have experience of: to be aware of the truth : be convinced or certain of: to have a practical understanding of.

In John 3:16 we have the promise and blessing of eternal life: entrance to the Kingdom of God. But the eternal life Jesus speaks of in John 17 is the promise and blessing of knowing HIM.

The first one is freely given and the latter is acquired with sacrifice and a cost.  Let me clarify this sacrifice and cost:

Mary the sister of Martha, knew the sacrifice of humility and the cost of sitting at Jesus’ feet. (Luke 10:38-42)  The sacrifice of putting all things aside and humbly coming before the LORD at the cost of accusations, criticism, belittlement, and judgment.

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.”  (Luke 10:38).  

Although Martha was the one who extended the invitation to Jesus she did not set aside her preparations long enough to fellowship with Him because she was caught up in the kitchen or rather distracted in her serving.  I’m sure she was excited to serve the One who she has heard so much about.  To have such a person in her home was an honor.

BUT Mary!

Mary did not hesitate.  She also has heard about Jesus but she wanted more. She was not satisfied in hearing about Him through the mouth of others but she wanted to know Him for herself. Here was her opportunity to get acquainted with Him intimately and she took it.  She was so captivated and drawn by His Presence that she quickly buckled at His feet to hear His words.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)

I’m sure as a woman, Mary had her own inner struggles and needs.  I believe as Jesus spoke, His words were penetrating the deepest parts of her heart (Heb. 4:12) that although she heard her sister Martha approaching towards them she remained in her position because her need was greater.

I believe that even though Martha was busy in the kitchen preparing, she may have caught a few words that were spoken by Jesus because her heart was open and laid bare.  Out of her heart she spoke (Matt. 15:18) or rather complained and accused Mary.

“Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”  Martha complained and accused Jesus of not caring.  She even went further as to command Jesus to tell Mary to help her! Talk about irreverence!  Yet we see nothing written in the bible of Mary responding to her accuser.  She was still.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.” 

Evidently Martha had her fair share of worries and troubles.  Distraction caused her to miss out on the “one thing” Mary reached for and received: to know Him!

Mary has chosen the good portion and it cannot be taken away from her.  She stepped into “eternal life” (knowing Him) the moment she responded to His Presence.  She made the sacrifice of letting everything go despite the cost of being talked about. Yet like David, her heart cried out “One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” (Psalm 27:4)

Martha served and Mary worshiped.  Serving is important but it goes in vain if we do not come into relationship with the One we are serving.  In order to serve Him effectively, we must come to know Him and His heart.  And to know His heart we must come to a place of sitting at His feet.  This requires the sacrifice of putting things, people and time aside at whatever cost.

Mary came to the full knowledge of “knowing” through Jesus who was present.  It was evident in John 12:3 when she took a very costly oil of spikenard, anointed Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair.  Because she knew Him, she was able to recognize and perceive what others could not.

Yet again, Martha was serving (v.2). Yet again Mary sacrificed (v.3).  Yet again Mary came into accusation and judgment but this time through Judas who betrayed Jesus (v.4,5,6).  AND YET AGAIN, Jesus came to her defense “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial.” (v.7)

And WE come into a full knowledge of “knowing” by His Holy Spirit who is continuously present within us! Apart from Him we cannot do nothing. Holy Spirit draws us into relationship, makes known the Father’s heart to us, and gives us understanding, wisdom, and revelation as we respond in humbleness, holy reverence, servitude and obedience.

How far and deep you take this relationship is dependent upon you.  What sacrifices are you willing to make?  What risk are you willing to take?  What cost are you willing to pay? Understand that there will always be a Martha (family members) and a Judas (brother or sisters in Christ) present in your life that will talk about you, betray you and judge your actions. 

I'm sure Martha believed she was sacrificing herself in serving but despite all her self-sacrifice she never came to that place of humility and obedience in sitting at His feet. Mary did and that is why it was said that she chose the better part.  The "one thing" that is needed.

Remember obedience is better than sacrifice and sacrifice follows obedience.  

The choice is yours. You can either be content with knowing about Him on the surface of your religion as you serve like Martha; or you can, like Mary, desire to sit at His feet – experiencing “eternal life” in the now! First seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL things will be added unto you! 

If your heart longs for the latter I then invite you to pray with me:

Abba, Father

Draw us to You.  We desire to know You intimately.  We long to experience the fullness of Who You are.  We are not satisfied with knowing about You but we hunger and thirst to encounter the knowledge of knowing You deeply that only Holy Spirit can reveal to us.  Therefore we ask that you pour out Your Spirit upon us as we come seeking and illuminate our minds that we can perceive, understand, recognize and obtain the eternal life Jesus prayed for us to experience now in knowing You.  In Jesus the Messiah’s Name we pray, Amen.

God bless you....