When You Know Who Jesus Is But You Do Not know Him Personally
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
In response to the question, “According to your understanding, who is Jesus Christ?” two-thirds of some 10,000 college students interviewed said they believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Yet when these same students were asked how they could become Christians, 90% said they did not know. What those students expressed is quite true of all men. It is not a question of facts; it is a matter of acting on those facts. What counts is not knowledge, but action!
A certain amount of knowledge, though, is prerequisite to action. It is one thing to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but it is entirely another thing to act on that belief in such a manner that one becomes a Christian. A few facts, though, are absolutely necessary. Who is this One called Jesus? What is the relationship of His life and teaching to us today?
The biblical and secular records tell us that Jesus was born in the little town of Bethlehem, a few miles from Jerusalem. The physician, Luke, writes that Jesus was born of a virgin without a human father. Should Christ have been an ordinary human, this fact would be pretty hard to accept. The virgin birth of Christ was no afterthought in an attempt to glorify His life. For centuries, the prophets had been foretelling such a birth.
Seven hundred years before Christ was born, the prophet Isaiah stated this fact, (Isaiah 7:14). In 1947, a copy of the book of Isaiah was found near the Dead Sea. Carbon dating places this scroll at several hundred years B.C. Placed in the cave about 70 A.D., that manuscript foretold Christ’s coming.
At the age of thirty, Christ began His ministry. From the beginning, it was obvious that He was different. He spoke with authority and not as the rest of the teachers of His day. His viewpoint was different, too. He spoke as one who commanded the course of the universe. They brought the sick and diseased to Him, and He healed them without exception. He never paused to consider if it could be done. He made no clinical analysis, yet, simply spoke the word and it happened. He commanded and it took place. In short, He claimed to be God. Actually, it was for this that He was eventually crucified, but even in His death, He was different.
When He died, Pilate gave the order to make the tomb as secure as possible. The Roman army put soldiers there to guard it; the religious leaders of His day made it as secure as could be. Unbelief has tried to seal it for 2,000 years, yet the tomb has remained empty. Jesus Christ rose from the grave after three days. He told His disciples ahead of time that He would. (Matthew 12:38-40).
You too may believe in Christ but aren’t clear on how that relates to becoming a Christian. Christ, Himself, made it clear what a person must do to become a Christian. He said, “…whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24). John said, “But as many as received Him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12 KJV).
To become a Christian, you must believe that Christ, God’s Son, died in your place. It is not a matter of joining a church. It is accepting the reality that Christ took your sin for you–in a real and personal manner. And that friend, is what it takes to know Jesus Christ personally.