The passage from Luke 2:25-32 really caught my attention in the last few weeks.
25-32 In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God:
God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation;
it’s now out in the open for everyone to see:
A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations,
and of glory for your people Israel. (MSG)
How beautiful life is when we are allowed to see God before we died just as Simeon did. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died.
He could then gratefully saying,
“God, you can now release your servant;
release me in peace as you promised.
With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation”
That is what I also longing for myself: to know God during my lifetime on earth.
It is a journey. As in the case of Simeon, meeting baby Jesus is part of his journey to know God. Before that particular event, he has already built relationship with God. The Holy Spirit was on him. In fact, it was the Holy Spirit that led him to enter the temple.
To be honest, knowing God that is “invisible” might not be as easy as it looks. But God can be known by human beings. And the presence of Jesus on earth is the completion of Divine self-revelation.
John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (NIV).
And to know God is considered as a greater value among other things we need to know and experience in life. As Paul wrote in Philippians 3:7-11:
7-9 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.
10-11 I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.
As in other relationship, to know God is need to start with spending more time with Him. Reading the bible, praying, retreat, singing praises etc. And there are various of ways you can do those things.
Today, I read a chapter called Knowing God from the book “The Gift of Being Yourself” written by David G. Benner. He wrote two ways to have shared-experience with God. The first one “meeting Jesus in the Gospels”. It is a meditation of the life of Jesus by allowing the Spirit of God to help you imaginatively enter an event in the life of Christ as presented in the Gospels. Basically what he was saying is to picture the situation where Jesus is present in one particular story. Just be present to Jesus and open to your own reactions. He continue by saying, “As Jesus has begun to become more human and real to me, the invisible God of whom he is the image has become more accessible.”
The second one is “Meeting God in the events of life”. The main idea is similar with the first one. Both involving meeting God in the concrete circumstances of life. It is the action of a reflection of God’s presence in our daily events of life. The goal of a prayerful review of recent life experiences is not self-analysis. But to increased awareness of God in the events of life and the depths of my being.
I find out that these two methods are worth to try among other various ways that I knew before. And at the end, the only purpose is to know God and to have my life transformed.
Have a great journey, people.