Recently I’ve started reading A Glimpse of Jesus; the Stranger to Self-Hatred by Brennan Manning (I’ve always been impressed and convicted by any quote I’ve heard from him, but have yet to read one of his books). In the second chapter he issues the challenge:
“Who is the Jesus of your journey? How would you describe the Christ who is the still point of a turning world for so many people and an irrelevancy or embarrassment for countless others…The challenge, so keenly put in the New Testament – ‘Who do you say that I am?’ – is addressed to each of us. Who is the Jesus of your own interiority? Describe the Christ that you have personally encountered on the grounds of your own self?
Only a stereotypical answer can be forthcoming if we have not developed a personal relationship with Jesus. We can only repeat pious turns of speech that others have spoken or wave a catechism under children’s noses if we have not gained some partial insight, some small glimpse of the inexhaustible richness of the mystery who is Jesus Christ.” (Brennan Manning, A Glimpse of Jesus, p. 24-25)
I read on a little further, but eventually had to stop and close the book so I could ponder this question. Who is Jesus in my life? “Who do you say I am?”
I feel like I’m still just beginning to truly know Jesus and make Him known in my life, that I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of the fullness of life in Him, but I’m encouraged by Manning’s words:
“Perhaps what is decisive is not how much we see, but how much we trust and follow Jesus of Nazareth, however sketchy the portrait, how ever sketchy the glimpse,” (A Glimpse of Jesus, forward).
That said, here are few glimpses of the Jesus I’ve come to know in my life:
– He is the one who shifted the priorities in my life by showing me what is most important to Him (time with Him and our relationship with Him). He is beautiful and captivating. He draws my heart like nothing else. Everything else that I pursued and anything else that I could pursue pales in comparison with time spent in His presence. He is fullness of life that satisfies me in a way that chasing after my own desires and glory never did.
– He is the one that gives me hope by His promises. He gives me hope for continued transformation in my own life, but also hope for the transformation of people and communities around me, hope for broken people to be healed, shattered foundations rebuilt, new life from death, and redemption from failure. He is the picture of who we will be and the face of God’s love and mercy towards us.
– He is my first Love, my faithful friend. He is always with me when I cry to Him. He pushes back the despair and lifts the loneliness. He tells me who I am and reminds me of His plans for me. His love never fails. He is always there and always sufficient.
– He is my compass, who reorients my life and points me in the direction I need to go. He is the nourisher of my soul who feeds me with His words, corrects me, gives me wisdom, who draws the depths of my heart (both the dreams and the filth) to the light of the surface.
– He is my Redeemer, who makes sure that nothing in my life is wasted. He brings light and growth out of even my deepest pain or sharpest failing.
This is still such a partial picture of all that Jesus is and promises to be in our lives, but I hope and pray that I will continue to come to know Him more. I pray that as I come to know more about Him, that the things I know about Him will become more and more evident in my life and I will truly know Him more. And for now, I strive to be faithful to what I do know.