We started off the series with an overview of that concept and ended with the processing of moving from being told to actually processing Jesus’ greatness. And today we process the complexity of Jesus’ human-ness.
Think about long term decisions. Marriage. Location. Career. Friendships. Phone providers.
Think about the long term relational commitment between two people.
What are the challenges and obstacles to following through with a long term decision?
Would that relationship last long if it was just based on a one time moment of commitment but with no long term committing? “At this moment I commit to being your friend” but then nothing follows?
Will a marriage last if the only moment of commitment is at the altar? “We’ve made it! This is it! There’s nothing more after this.”
We’d all say no, those relationships will not last. The same holds true for the process of faith.
Imagine sneaking into someone’s house every day to read what they wrote in the diary, but then never spending time with them for real. Creepy, right?
But that’s what can happen sometimes when we read scripture and aren’t actually connecting with God in the process.
Let it be a continual process, just as relationships are. A process where you’re evaluating what you think, believe and see while inviting God into each and every moment.
God knows the finest details about each of us. Even with this knowing, He still loves us. The Psalmist repeatedly asks the question “Does God even know me?” and comes to the answer - a resounding yes!
God knows us. And it could be easy to just turn that into a mantra without actually processing what it represents.
Does God know you?
YES HE DOES!
But how would truly internalizing this reality that God knows us impact you?
There are many layers to knowing someone.
Is knowing what a person has done, knowing a person?
Is knowing what a person is feeling right now, knowing a person?
Is knowing what a person likes and doesn’t like, knowing a person?
Is spending time with a person, knowing a person?
What does it really mean to know someone? How is “known” measured?
Now think about the value of being understood. Value can be a complicated thing. It can be defined as the regard that something is held to deserve; the importance, worth, or usefulness of something.
Value can move and shift. It’s different from person to person. It changes over time. It can be inflated and deflated.
What is the value of being understood and known in a relationship?
Hebrews 4 brings a lot of perspective to this concept.
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
We have talked about the value of being known, but we need to be honest. Maybe your life and experience has taught you that danger is lurking around every corner. That you need to build thick walls around yourself in order to stay safe. This seems to be at odds with being truly known.
What is the danger or risk of being truly/completely known?
The recurring theme of scripture shows the depth of God’s knowing of us. And if he knows fully, and sees all of our negative stuff...uh oh. That’s how we often feel.
If a relationship is just about physical attraction, or always having fun, or just always getting along, or never having problems, then God knowing is a problem.
Isn’t relationship so much more?
Aren’t the best relationships so much more than a transaction?
Aren’t the best relationships so much more than ease or simplicity?
Aren’t the best relationships so much more than butterflies and emotions?
Aren’t the best relationships the best because of the process of working through the deep complexities of knowing?
Jesus has walked in our weaknesses.
Jesus personally understands.
Jesus gets it.
We can approach God with confidence.
He isn’t going to smite us in our imperfection.
He isn’t uncaring about our struggles.
He isn’t dismissive of the challenges.
It is safe to be known by Him.
He is a helper in our hardest time.
He is a helper in our greatest failings.
He is a helper in our being upside down.
He is a helper in our doubts.
He is a helper in our greatest pain.
The people that Hebrews was addressed to were in a season of life where life was a mess. They were struggling. They were drifting from what they had initially embraced in relationship with Jesus. And, everything in culture was telling them that God was indifferent to their struggle. Even their own Jewish culture focused on God’s disappointment and wrath.
Jesus stands out, as this God-human who feels. Who has empathy, compassion and mercy.
In 2020 we often follow Jesus as though he hasn’t felt what we feel, that he hasn’t been tempted in all ways and can relate to us, that there isn’t grace freely available from God or that we can approach him with confidence.
Again we’re not here to get to the right answers. Make this personal for yourself.
If God truly understands you and knows you and completely loves you, how does that affect/influence your relationship with Him?
Everything in relationship with God hinges on the fact of him knowing us. Understanding us fully and loving us. And not just loving us but actually liking us.
When we start there, we can grow in a relationship with him. It’s hard to grow in a relationship if we’re only afraid of his wrath. Or if we think he’s unfeeling. Or if we’re looking for mere transactions to take the place of knowing.
So God knows us. But can we know Him? How?
Remember our question from before. How do you know another person?
Knowing what they have done or are doing? Part of it.
Knowing what they feel or are feeling now? Part of it.
Knowing what they like and dislike? Part of it.
Spending time with them? Definitely part of it.
These things together over time are the picture of relationship when pursued for the sake of connection. To borrow from Greg, it’s a picture of “presence over time.” But a cool thing is that God has already put himself out there. He’s already committed himself to the presence over time. To know what we have done/are doing. To know how we’re feeling. Knowing our likes/dislikes. To spend time with us. And not for the sake of transaction. For the sake of connection.
Sometimes these ideas of God’s goodness can drive us to feeling shame. Like, God is so so so good, and I am so so so bad, and that’s what we need to focus on. That’s wrong. We have to see that all over scripture there is writing that because of Jesus and being justified through faith we now have peace with God and complete access to God’s grace. That God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Read all of Hebrews 5. It paints an amazing picture of the length God has gone to to make connection with us, and how He’s not lording it over us.
Ty brought up the science of people ending up looking like each other if they spend a lot of time together. Literally, couples who live together end up physically looking like each other over enough time spent together.
God invites us right into that. That as we spend more time with him the sign of knowing and being known is that we begin to look like Him. Jesus came and lived his life as fully human, he already made the move to come and know us. To look like us. To understand us. To fully encompass the human experience and then to connect with us and to let us know he can sympathize and has empathized. That he’s had compassion on us. He knew us before the foundation of the world.
Look at the ways God says He knows us.
Psalm 139:1-3, 8, 13, 17-18
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
How precious to me are your thoughts concerning me God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
We can’t get away from this theme of “knowing”, how deeply it represents intimacy, the knowing between a husband and wife in hebrew tradition.
Jesus knows you that intimately. He invites us to come and know him in the same level of depth. And we’re not being invited to know someone who doesn’t understand what it is to be human. As Jesus invites us to know him, he does so through the framework of “I know you and I know what it’s like to live as a human like you.”
Relationship with God is available, and He really invites us to pursue him for the sake of relationship.
What do you need to see more clearly in order to pursue relationship with God?
Take It Deeper Questions
Read Hebrews 4:14-16
What are the differences in a relationship with a superior that is empathetic to your circumstances and one that is oblivious to your circumstances?
If you read this text for the first time with no prior exposures to Jesus, what questions would you have?
What is the result of seeing God’s knowing us leading to condemnation and judgement?
What is the result of seeing God’s knowing us leading to empathy, understanding and mercy?
Bible Reading Plan
2 Timothy 1
2 Timothy 2
2 Timothy 3
2 Timothy 4