The best way to get in touch with Jesus is to accept the invitation which is published in the Bible. Jesus said, “Come to me . . . you are my friends.” If you ever took a chemistry class, you know you couldn’t pass the book about experiments until you actually tried the experiments out. This is true of the invisible Jesus, too. The only way to prove him is to try experiments with him.
What would you think of a young man who walked across a school campus and declared to his friends, “I’ve been to college.” Causally reading the Gospels is like the man going across the campus. We cannot know Jesus as friend until we enter his classroom and experiment with him.
God does not force our wills. He comes in only where we open the doors of our hearts and give him a warm welcome. Love and faith are the eyes which see the risen Christ. We never know where we are going to meet him. What we do know is that he is always near. Did he not say: “I am with you always . . . Abide in me and I will abide in you.” On the other hand, they who hunger and thirst after sin and wrongdoing raise a black cloud which shuts out the face of Jesus.
Chemists do not refuse to begin experiments until they have had their questions answered. If they did, they would never discover anything. We must ask Jesus what interests him most and what were the things he rejected. As we read and re-read the Gospels we learn to know Jesus as a real person. He grows upon us as we see more and more of his charm. As we become better acquainted with Jesus we see that he was primarily interested in people and in their problems. He was passionately fond of helping those in need. He saw deep needs that others failed to see. He healed everything and everybody he touched.
You may ask, “How much must I believe about Jesus in order to try cultivating a friendship with him?” All you need to do is to agree that he is worth following; and then follow, just as the disciples did. Consider how little they knew about Jesus at the beginning. They knew far less than we know. After they had followed him for a few months their hearts felt a tremendous love and their minds reach a tremendous truth.
Photography: Stacy Busch