Knowing vs Knowing about
The silent “t”. Over the years I have discovered that having a silent “t” in my first name helps weed out telemarketing phone calls. When I was child I tried to find ways to explain the spelling, “it’s like escargot”. That didn’t always work.
It can take time to learn to pronounce a name. Yesterday, I appreciated when someone whose name is spelled in such a way that there could be confusion on its’ pronunciation had her name spelled out phonetically on the Zoom screen. Names are powerful. Getting to know names and know one another takes time.
In Matthew 16:13-20 Jesus has questions for his disciples; questions about who other people say he is and who his own disciples say Jesus is. What’s the word on the street about me? And for each of you, who do you say that I am? What do you know about me?
To these followers who have seen him heal the sick, walk on water, feed thousands with only enough for a few, heard his sermon on the mount, been called to leave what they were previously doing…who do you say that I am? What’s the name you have for me in your heart? And here it is…Peter’s moment. In his typical first to speak out, first to jump in way, he shares his revelation, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16.)
The name springs forth from Peter’s lips. A confession of faith- a deep knowing of this one who invited Peter when he was afraid to step out of the boat and walk on the water. Peter knows Jesus. Up close and personal, Peter has been walking with and listening to Jesus. But it isn’t Peter’s “flesh and blood” personal experience that reveals that Jesus is the anointed one- it is, “my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). In this moment the revelation is the gift that Peter receives. From his lips come the confession of faith- you are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.
After Peter started to sink when he was walking on the water we hear the report that when Jesus and Peter get back in the boat with the disciples all the disciples proclaim; “Truly you are the Son of God.” Matthew 14:23
They have heard him teach. They have seen him heal. They have traveled with him. They have watched him do the miraculous. They have gotten to know Jesus not just his name. There is a difference between knowing about someone and knowing them. All week this song has been going through my mind. In the next few days I will be in an online retreat that invites me to be still, to create time to connect in prayer and mediation with God.
As summer comes to a close the invitation to be still, to pause, to be quiet, to listen and get to know Jesus more intimately is calling to me. This weekend in worship we will hear also Paul’s invitation to Christians in Rome to see God and be connected to God in every aspect of their lives. Romans 12 translated in the Message has been a beloved scripture for me.
Here is an invitation to take that message deeper. Click on that link. Print out Romans 12 from the Message translation and circle or underline all the instructions/directions for placing your life- your everyday, ordinary life- as an offering to God. The promise is you will be changed from the inside out.
Give it a try. As we practice and experiment with ways of getting to know Jesus more deeply, love him more dearly, follow him more closely our knowing him changes us, transforms us. Sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly we experience the power of of a Love that is with us in each and every breath. Sometimes it takes a focus on being still. Other times we need to move forward with action and intention and engagement in the world around us. Many times I have referenced this song- and this verse plays on repeat for me as it is my prayer:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger In the presence of my Savior
~Oceans (Where feet may fail) by Hillsong United