From the editor: June 20, 2014
It Really Is Personal
"Do you know Jesus as your personal savior?"
I grew up with this good question, knowing that the affirmative answer identified oneself as a Christian. To me the emphasis was on my experience; but at this point in my life I am much more interested in shifting the emphasis from the word your to personal. But only in this sense: Do I know the Savior Jesus as a Person?
In John 1:39, Jesus invites to disciples of John the Baptist to "come and see." It's personal. And it is about him. By the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and after his resurrection and ascension, the apostles knew that they had encountered much more than a true body of religious teaching; they had seen all the truth of that teaching - including the law and the prophets and much more—fulfilled in the life of one man, that is, by the way this one man lived—and died.
While the formal content of the Christian religion can be expressed in objective statements, it is the lived expression of that content that we find in Jesus that is the very root of the tradition in and from which the church grows. The personal character of Jesus marks the true church, the true believer. The rulers and the elders "recognized that [Peter and John] had been with Jesus." John later in his life described the life "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands." They were not taught in a classroom so much as they were by a Life.
There is only one Jesus Christ, who gave himself for me and you and everyone else. He did it in love, humility, obedience, chastity, joy, faith, and hope. He taught with authority and power because of who he was and all that he did. He is a person, not a mere ideology or mere orthodoxy. Orthodoxy should assist us in making sure we know who he is and what he requires of us. When we are confused, let us remember to always "come and see." If we "do what he tells" us, we will even be his personal disciples! (John 14:21) So, I might ask, "Are you the Savior's personal disciple?" Amen?
I must end now and specifically ask you to consider making a contribution to the Fellowship of St. James at this time. We have only about 10 days until our fiscal year ends, and we need to raise $44,000 to make our budget. I will greatly appreciate any size gift you can make. We are a small full-time staff of four, publishing two magazines and a Daily Devotional Guide, in addition to this weekly reflection. Your personal gift to support our work will go far!
Yours for Christ, Creed & Culture,
—James M. Kushiner
© The Fellowship of St. James. 2014
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