By Bryan McAlister
With each passing week, more and more faces become familiar, more names come with familiar recognition, and the routines and activities become, well...familiar. Through our experiences we learn vital life lessons, both positive and negative. Some of the lessons have served as reminders of what not to do. Most of the lessons learned have come from the school of life experiences, which prayerfully, if applied properly, will help cultivate wisdom. Please do not misunderstand, these words do not adopt the notion that all has been learned, but rather merely reflect a scratching of the surface.
Familiar, that is a pleasant thought to begin to come to one’s life, when everything has been new. Familiar, that is one aspect of Christian living, to which we all need to aspire. Paul spoke of familiarity in these terms, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that Day” (II Timothy 1:12). With Peter, his familiarity, was with the knowledge of seeing Jesus, “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy, inexpressible and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8). To the Hebrew writer, the familiarity of Jesus was seen in his awareness of a High Priest who can sympathize (Heb 4:14).
Familiarity is not always expressed in words, but also in terms of actions and lifestyle. There were “certain Greeks” who came for the Passover Feast in John 12. During this time, the message and news of one name Lazarus being brought back to life, was circulating through the multitudes. These Greeks wanted to meet Jesus, the one responsible for this miracle. Thus, they sought out those who were familiar with Jesus to ask, “We wish to see Jesus” (John 12:21). When by our actions and lives, people can identify that we know Jesus, we have shown the impact of a relationship with the Savior. By our lifestyle as Christians, others should see the familiar look of the Savior in us.
We have been so richly blessed. We have the identity of our Savior clearly described for us, in order that we might imitate Him (I Cor 11:1). We have the presence of the church that we might find encouragement and support from those of “like precious faith” (II Peter 1:1). We have a sympathizing High Priest (Heb 4:14), we have a “house not made with hands” (II Cor 5:1), we have a Father in heaven (Matthew 6:9). We have, we have, and we have. Of all that we possess, do we possess the familiarity of these blessings and promises in our lives? Do we trust their presence, their promise, and their power for us? In trusting these promises, and possessing all these blessings, are you living the familiar life of one redeemed by the blood of the lamb? Has seeing Jesus been a daily pursuit, or a casual glance? When you consider the opportunities to seek Jesus or seek fulfillment in the world, which one wins most often? In living your life for the sake of Jesus, others will see what His influence can do for you. Jesus gives the assurance, “If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor” (John 12:26). But friend, take this note of caution and encouragement, do not wait or even insist that people ask you first about Jesus, before you tell them. If they do ask, consider it a blessing, for you have lived as you should live, it is your reasonable service (Romans 12:1). But do not insist they ask you about Jesus. Be the first to tell them, be the first to show them, be the first to make Jesus a familiar, and found for the sake of their soul!
- Bryan McAlister preaches for the Centerville church of Christ, in Centerville, TN. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://www.centervillechurchofchrist.org