When I walk into a school, 99% of teenagers will tell me they believe in Jesus. I’ve learned there’s a stark difference between believing in Jesus and believing Jesus. Most people say they know who Jesus is, but do you really know Him?
In Philippians, Paul writes, “I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death…” (Philippians 3:10) The power of this sentence is in the word know. It’s the Greek word gnoskis and Paul uses it to mean deep intimacy. Gnoskis describes the relationship that a husband has with his wife on the wedding night, the husband and the wife know each other in the most intimate way possible, becoming one. Paul is implying that he wants to know Jesus in the most intimate way that we can possibly know Him.
Do you believe in Jesus or believe Jesus?
The difference implies the weight of gnoskis. To believe in Jesus is easy, the historical evidence for His existence on this planet is there. To take it a step further and say He is God’s son doesn’t cost us much in America. Even the demons believe in Jesus (see James 2:19). But to believe Jesus means we take Him at His word and we aspire to know Him the way that Paul wants to know Him. It means we elevate our relationship with Him above every human relationship we have and this relationship impacts every aspect of our life and being.
Some of us know Jesus without really knowing Jesus.
Maybe you haven’t experienced the life transforming power of grace because you haven’t come face to face with the resurrected Christ. Jesus wants to meet us on our own “road to Emmaus,” He wants us to encounter Him and, more so, to recognize and believe that He is who He says He is. This brings about a resurrection in own lives, one that never leaves us the same.