When Jesus met Peter he didn’t need an introduction.
This one’s for my peers. For the twenty-somethings, the teens, the church-grown pew-lings who grew up in his fan club but haven’t actually gotten to meet Jesus. They taught you Jesus-theory but failed to show you Jesus life. My heart breaks for you.
My heart breaks for you because I am you.
I grew up on Christian theory and equations for being good and doing the right thing. I know about feeling guilty because I know my parents want me to go to church but it just isn’t working for me. I know what it’s like to come to that point where you know you have to make your own decisions about Jesus, Christianity and church instead of just doing what your parents do.
But let me introduce you to Jesus.
There was this preacher guy named John, and people listened to what he said. One day he saw Jesus walking by and he said to two of his fisherman-punk-followers, “Look, there goes the Lamb of God,” and they left John and they followed after Jesus. Jesus was like, “Hey guys…what are you looking for?” and they just kind of had a social fart and blurted out, “Where do you live, teacher?”
Jesus just smiled and said, “Come and see.”
One of these young fisherman punks was Andrew, and when he knew where Jesus was staying he went off and told his brother Simon that he had found the Messiah, so Simon came back with Andrew to meet Jesus.
“You are Simon the son of Jona, but you will be called ‘A Stone’ (Cephas, Peter)–”
–As soon as He “beheld him”.
Jesus saw Simon coming toward him and he said, “Hey, I know who you are, and this is who you will be.”
I know you probably don’t get it yet. But meeting Jesus–really meeting Jesus–is more like being reintroduced to yourself. It’s like nothing you’ve learned in church because when Jesus meets you it isn’t theory anymore, it’s him, and he knows you.
I want to say the real question is “Will you let him in–let him speak,” like you have any say over him. But that’s not it. He didn’t ask Simon’s permission or even wait to be introduced (how did he even know Simon’s name?) The truth isn’t those formulas you’ve heard. The truth is, Jesus is going to meet you and he’s going to speak the truth of who you are and who you will be. The truth is he’s speaking it now–right now, here, in this moment, where you are right now. The truth is if you listen now you can hear the Creator breathing your heartbeat, and only you can hear it. It doesn’t take a good speaker or an emotional worship leader, all it takes is for you to stop and listen for the voice that you know deep down can’t really be just your head talking back, and believe him.
A few days after Peter met Jesus, Nathanael came along. It went like this; Jesus found Philip who lived in the same town as Andrew and Peter, and Philip ran off to find Nathanael. So Philip tells Nathanael that they’ve found the prophesied Messiah and Nathanael incredulously comes along to see. As soon as Jesus sees Nathanael coming he says to the others, “Look at this guy, he’s a true Israelite, there’s nothing fake about him.” Nathanael maybe still sounds a little incredulous as he says, “Dude, how do you even know me?” We’ve never met before. Jesus says, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip even called you.”
Boom. Nathanael proclaims Jesus Messiah, Son of God and King of Israel just like that.
Jesus grins, “You believe in me because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?! You’re going to see things way better than that; soon you’ll see heaven and earth collide.”
There’s so much I want to tell you that I don’t know how to yet. But one of the most important things is Jesus is a person! He’s real and actual! You can hear him if you listen; you can feel him if you reach out your hands. And soon, maybe tonight, maybe later on, maybe in the middle of the biggest storm you’ve ever faced, you’ll hear him. He’ll say “Child…I know you, I’ve seen you when you think no one is looking; here is who you are going to be.” And Jesus won’t be the same to you again.
Because when it comes to Jesus, you can’t just go on what someone else says; John pointed Jesus out to his disciples as the Messiah he had been heralding, but their lives only changed when they left John to meet Jesus personally and individually. You just have to meet and experience him for yourself and I promise you this: ‘He is not a tame Lion, but he is good;’ and you won’t walk away the same.