That question is often asked by evangelical preachers during their sermons. Those preachers challenge their listeners to consider if they truly know Jesus Christ in a personal way, or if their connection with Jesus is just a matter of being baptized and accepting certain facts about him.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? That is a good question for us all. It makes us look at the place that Jesus Christ has in our hearts and not just in our heads. After all, in the Gospels we do not read of Jesus teaching people the words of a creed; rather we read of how Jesus invited people to follow him, to listen to his words, to learn from his example, and to embrace a life-changing relationship with him.
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? As challenging as that question is, there is an even more important question to consider, one that comes from this Sunday’s Gospel. (Luke 13:22-30) There Jesus speaks about the master of a house who has locked the doors of his home. When people, who think they know him, come knocking on his door asking to come in, he answers, “I do not know where you are from.”
In response those people tell him, “We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.” The master of the house again replies, “I do not know where you are from.” He then makes it very clear that he does not consider them friends or even acquaintances as he tells them, “Depart from me, all you evildoers!”
In that parable, the master of the house makes it plain that only those he recognizes as having a relationship with him can enter his house. The master alone makes the decision; not those knocking at his door.
In telling that parable in response to the question, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Jesus lets us know the kind of people who will enter his house. Those who will be admitted are the people he recognizes as following the Gospel, as living as his disciples, as working to bring his kingdom of love, justice and peace into this world.
As Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)
Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? That is a good question to ask ourselves.
But the more critical question is this: Does Jesus Christ know me as one of his disciples?
2019 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski