♦ 認識基督(上)—Mark Jones

 


  1. 只是我先前以為於我有益的,我現在因基督都當作有損的。
  2. 不但如此,我也將萬事當作有損的,因我以認識我主基督耶穌為至寶。我為他已經丟棄萬事,看作糞土,為要得著基督
  3. 並且得以在他裡面,不是有自己因律法而得的義,乃是有信基督的義,就是因信神而來的義,
  4. 使我認識基督,曉得他復活的大能,並且曉得和他一同受苦效法他的死
  5. 或者我也得以從死裡復活。
  6. 這不是說我已經得著了,已經完全了;我乃是竭力追求,或者可以得著基督耶穌所以得著我的(或作:所要我得的)。(腓3:7-12)

Few people, this side of eternity, can claim to have known Jesus like the Apostle Paul did. Yet, not as a man outside of Christ, but as a man “in Christ,” Paul considered everything apart from Christ as “dung” because he knew Jesus. Indeed, as a man sometimes privy to direct revelation from God, Paul’s great desire on earth was to know Christ (Phil. 3:10 “that I may know him…”). This desire of Paul’s was a direct answer to Christ’s prayer for all his people in John 17:3 where he asks the Father that his people may experience eternal life, which is to know God and know God’s Son, who was sent into the world to save sinners.

認識你─獨一的真神,並且認識你所差來的耶穌基督,這就是永生。(約17:3)

 


There can be little doubt that almost all Christians are content to have won Christ, and thus receive the gift of eternal life. But how many are equally concerned to know him? How often we cut Jesus in half, wishing to know that we are saved, and all is well with our destiny, but forgetting that to be truly saved means we must truly know him.  On Samuel Rutherford’s gravestone at the Old Cathedral graveyard in St. Andrews we read of his passion to know Christ:
True godliness adorned his name,
He did converse with things above,
Acquainted with Emmanuel’s love…
Mostly constantly he did contend
Until his time was at an end.
Then he won to the full fruition
Of that which he had seen in vision.

Little wonder that such words were written on Rutherford’s gravestone. For, in one of his Letters (no. 226), he writes:
Put the beauty of ten thousand thousand worlds of paradises, like the garden of Eden, in one. Put all trees, flowers, all smells, all colors, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness, in one. Oh, what a fair and excellent thing would that be! And yet it would be less to that fair and dearest Well-beloved, Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths.
Put the joy of cell phones, email, television, internet, and sports in one. Oh what excellent joys they are. And yet, the joy of knowing Christ, learning of his person, not just his work: is Christ the drop of rain or is he the “whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths”?

A Motivation
All of us share guilt in our sinful refusal to know Christ better. But guilt simply cannot rectify this seemingly universal problem in the church. There must be other solutions, even apart from the significant fact that we are forgiven for our lack of love and knowledge of God and his Son.
One solution not immediately obvious to most Christians, but certainly compelling when one thinks about it, is to turn our thinking for a moment on Christ. Of all the human desires that Christ retained as he entered his glorified state in Heaven, surely few exceed his desire to know his people.
Christ, the Lord of Glory, supremely satisfied in the love of the Father, Holy Spirit, and elect angels, remains unsatisfied if he cannot know, love, and ultimately be with his people. How can a good husband enjoy life apart from being together with his wife?
As Jesus continues his high priestly prayer in John 17, he makes a most remarkable statement in verse 24: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”


In his heavenly glory, Christ meditates upon his people. He desires not only to know us, but also to be with us. When Christ calls one of loved ones home to be with him we must always remember that he has gained more than what we have lost.
Christ desires to be with us because he knows us. His knowledge of us demands that his desire to be with us will always mean that on earth we may be called home to be with him, not principally because of disease or some fatal accident, but rather because his prayer has been answered. There is for Christ something lovely, enticing, and satisfying in loving poor, sinful creatures like us, who have nothing to commend in themselves to Jesus, except that we belong to him.


Now if this much is true of Christ, are we somehow exempt from desiring to know Christ in the confident hope that we will one day be with him? Consider the words of the Psalmist, knowing that because the king desires us in our beauty (v. 11), we cannot help but desire to know the one who is the “most handsome of the sons of men,” who has grace poured upon his lips, and is anointed with “the oil of gladness beyond [his] companions” (Ps. 45:27).

你比世人更美;在你嘴裡滿有恩惠;所以神賜福給你,直到永遠。(詩45:2)

你喜愛公義,恨惡罪惡;所以神─就是你的神─用喜樂油膏你,勝過膏你的同伴。(詩45:7)

Jesus, who meditates upon his people, has taken the initiative by praying to his Father that we might know him. If we belong to him we must out of necessity be those who will know him: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me我是好牧人;我認識我的羊,我的羊也認識” (Jn. 10:14).