A Historic Jesus Or An Every Present Jesus!
We are a data driven society. We want to know facts in order to rationally figure everything out. What happens if the rational or natural becomes irrational because of the supernatural? What do you do when the explainable now becomes supernaturally unexplainable? How do you handle it when the facts of data are face-to-face with actual experience that goes counter to those facts and data? How do you handle faith?
It is amazing what we know “about” subjects but really don’t “know” the subject. For example, we know a lot about “marriage”, what it should and should not be, how it should or should not work, yet once we said “I do” and experienced marriage do we discover we know very little about it! We learn more and more about it as we experience it! I love to talk to couples who have been married 35 years or more, for they can share wisdom that is not data driven, but experience driven. Marriage works, but only if it is applied, if you experience it, work through it, embrace it, live it.
I’ve met people who know a lot “about” Jesus, so they think, yet they do not really “know” Jesus because they have not experienced him! They can spout off about the historical Jesus, their conception and “scholars’” conceptions of what Jesus was like when he was a human here on earth, but they know very little about the Jesus of today, personally or corporately. If Jesus today is the corporate church, they know him as an institution, a religious organization, not as a living organism of relationships between his people. You have to “experience” Jesus as an “”organism”, a living form through his people in order to truly understand him. How?
The five-fold is all about relationships, the laying down your life for your brethren in a peer-to-peer relationship of equality and acceptance. It is all about bringing life to the individual believer, developing him in the image of Jesus Christ, and to the corporate body of believers called the church, bringing unity in spirit and truth. If you pattern Christian life after church history, you follow traditionalism, the very thing that opposed Jesus when he was on earth. Jesus came to earth to bring life for man to experience life in Him not to establish traditions never to be broken. If you follow only a historical Jesus, you establish your understanding of Jesus through tradition, laws, decrees, etc., not out of personal relationships and experiences.
It amazes me how someone as dedicated as a seminary student can know some much about Jesus, yet not have personally experienced him, but it happens. I know ministers who deliver excellent sermons and exegeses “about” Jesus historically, quoting Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, and every known scholar, yet never having personally experienced him as a living, unexplainable, supernatural organism.
In order to understand the five-fold, you have to experience the five fold. Just knowing “about” it is not good enough. It is one thing knowing everything about evangelism but never evangelizing, know about care, nurturing, and discipleship but never shepherding anyone, knowing about the Word and being able to quote it verbatim but never experiencing or living it, knowing about God personally but never prophetically listening to his still small voice, knowing about administration from a business model, but never seeing over what the Holy Spirit is already doing while networking his people from an apostolic framework. My goal is not for the Church to know about the five-fold but experience it, live it, making it an organism of personal, sacrificial relationships.
We face a challenge in these days to either bring life through experiencing Jesus, or follow the “traditions of men” as the Bible calls them, and continue our Westernize view of the gospel of “knowing about” our faith through facts and data while quoting scriptures. We need to live our faith, live out of our faith, and experience our faith if we wish to see it as an organism. What a challenge! Let’s do it!