When I was in middle school, my friends and I had a celebrity crush. In addition to knowing all the lyrics to his songs, we also knew his birthday, his dog’s name, and his favorite candy (or so said the magazines). I know, I know—it’s embarrassing to say now. But I’m sharing this with you because I think there’s a pure and simple truth behind wanting to know more about someone who matters to you. Naturally, we prioritize knowing someone we care for, especially someone we love.
The Way to True Knowing
However, there’s a distinct difference between knowing about someone and truly knowing someone. While I might have known a lot about my celebrity crush, I never actually knew him. Similarly, there are many people today who know a lot about Jesus without relationally knowing Jesus. Paul had the same concern with the Corinthian church:
“But I fear that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your minds may be seduced from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!” (2 Cor. 11:3–4 CSB).
Knowing Through Relationship
Jesus described what it’s like to have a true, authentic relationship with him this way: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14–15). Just as Jesus knows us intimately, if we are his sheep, we know him as well. Every day he invites us into a mutual knowing relationship with him through Scripture.
There are so many ways you can attempt to learn about Jesus in the world today, but there’s only one way to truly know him: through the Word of God. If you haven’t taken the time to get to know Jesus through God’s Word, then you probably don’t really know Jesus—you only know what the world says about him.
Meet Jesus in His Word
Ultimately, if you want to truly know Jesus, you have to know the Jesus of the Bible. If you don’t understand the Jesus of the Bible and the true salvation he offers in the gospel, you cannot be saved (John 14:6). In fact, Jesus is the Word made flesh, the perfect fulfillment of Scripture (John 1:14). Without knowing the Word, we can’t know Jesus. And it’s impossible to have an authentic relationship with someone we don’t truly know.
Jen Wilkin says it this way in her book, Women of the Word: “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.” Essentially, we cannot really love Jesus if we only know the worldly version of him and not the one true Messiah found in the pages of Scripture. In order to have an authentic relationship with him, we have to take the time to get to know him. We have to spend time in the Word.
Knowing Him Leads to Worshipping Him
Another reason we should take time to get to know the one true Christ is so we can authentically worship him. If we aren’t careful to worship who Jesus has revealed himself to be through Scripture, then we will end up worshipping a false version of who we think Jesus should be. If the Jesus you worship never disagrees with your personal opinion or agenda, it’s possible that you don’t know the true Jesus.
In fact, the more we learn about King Jesus, the more we should be challenged toward holiness and away from worldly living. And while it might be easier to serve and worship a Jesus who never disagrees with you, this false Jesus isn’t the path to salvation.
Since Jesus first walked the earth, there have been those who misrepresent him. We have to meet Jesus in the pages of Scripture first before we attempt to learn about him anywhere else. While there are wonderful Christian books and Bible teachers out there, you’ll never know if what they say aligns with the Word of God unless you read it yourself.
Getting your theology about the person and character of Jesus Christ from social media, podcasts, books, and even pastors is dangerous when you haven’t taken the time to seek him first through God’s Word. But when you take the time to truly know the Jesus of the Bible, you won’t be deceived by the world’s misrepresentations of him.
As you might have guessed, I eventually grew out of my childhood celebrity crush. Through maturity and knowledge, I left childish things in the past. However, when it comes to Jesus, the more we grow in spiritual maturity and knowledge of him, the more our love for him grows. We will never outgrow Jesus and our need for him! So let’s commit to seeking Jesus through the divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God.