Knowing the Real Jesus
The aged Apostle Paul, near the end of his life, prayed that he may know Jesus better and the power of His resurrection. (Philippians 3:10) The Apostle who wrote 3/4 of the New Testament was pursuing a greater revelation and experience with Christ until his last breath. He constantly prayed Ephesians 1:17 - 19, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power."
In order to know someone accurately, we need to understand their personality. Reading the Gospels without the Holy Spirit's illumination gives us a distorted, fragmented view of what Jesus is really like. The enemy works full time to sow deception into Believers' understanding to create religious bondage. Religion gives the hope of knowing Christ but hinders us from experiencing Him in his multi faceted personality.
I am seeing that Jesus is playful and hides Himself at times. It appears that He does this to create a transforming encounter that will never be forgotten. Scripture confirms that this is one of the ways Jesus relates to us. Isaiah 45:15, "Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior."
We see this in one of His post resurrection appearances to Mary Magdalene found in John 20:12 - 16. Mary encounters two angels at Jesus' empty tomb where she is distressed and weeping. (vs. 11 & 12) One angel is sitting at Jesus' head and the other at His feet where Jesus had lain. The angels ask why Mary is weeping. Her reply was, "Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him". At this point she turns and sees Jesus standing there, but does not recognize Him. (vs. 14) Jesus says, "Why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?" (vs. 15) Mary assumed this was the gardener and replied, "If you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away." (vs. 15) Do you see the playfulness of Jesus? Jesus is concealing His identity to transform Mary by revelation and encounter, at the perfect time for maximum impact on her soul. Jesus now calls her by name, "Mary". The veil is removed and she recognizes Jesus' voice and responds with startled excitement, "Rabboni!"which means teacher. (vs. 16)
Jesus said my sheep hear and know my voice. (John 10:3) The voice of Jesus penetrates to the inner core of our identity and transforms us. Do we recognize Jesus in our trials and distresses? Is He standing before us in another form? Mark 16:12 declares, "After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country." Is He hiding for a time to set us up for a life changing encounter? I believe that He is, and we need to be sensitive to how He is revealing Himself to us during these times.