“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table.” (Luke 7:36 ESV)
As a seminary student, I spend a lot of time studying and discussing different aspects of theology. Whether it’s discussing the implications of the textual variant surrounding εἰρήνην ἔχομεν in Romans 5:1 or the way grace and sin has been understood over time, my Christian experience is spent thinking about fairly esoteric aspects of faith. I love being at seminary and have found it to be incredibly rich spiritually. But seminary has made the devotional aspect of my life challenging at times. I will often times think about questions like: What is Christ’s role in atonement? What is his role in justification? Sanctification? Restoration? How did Jesus fulfill the prophecy and Old Testament law and what role does he play in founding the church?
These are all good questions. What’s more interesting though are the questions that I don’t ask. What stories did he tell to entertain and delight the children that would gather around him? What foods did he prefer while sitting at the tables of the tax collectors? What made him laugh? What made him cry? What was Jesus like? Not theologically, but personally?
I confess, much to my shame, I have a much easier time thinking of Jesus in theological terms than I do of him as a person. It probably has to do with my sinful attempts to control God through doctrine. If Jesus is only thought of in terms of how he functions in a theological rubric, he becomes tame.
I’ve been spending time reading through the Gospels this month, and God has really broken me of this. Over and over again, I read about him sitting in somebody’s living room, eating and laughing with them as the other guests hang on his every word. I want that. I want to know Jesus like that. One of the most distinctive aspects of the Christian faith is the “personalness” of our God. So much of life’s question can’t be answered with clean dogmatic orthodoxy, but all of life’s problems can be walked through with the God who has also walked.
How do you relate to Jesus personally? What is it about him that gets you excited? What about him is difficult to grasp?
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally and to follow you wholly. Help me to walk in your ways!