Knowing About a Person Vs. Knowing the Person
We all know that it is one thing to know about a person, and utterly another to know that person for real. You will never have an authentic and truthful idea, opinion, experience, or testimony about a person unless you meet and spend time with him or her to gain a fuller understanding of that person.
Moreover, the closer you are to this person, the more you end up being influenced by him or her. In time, your mindset, attitudes, worldview, and, most importantly, actions will be shaped by that person. “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:10 ESV). Undoubtedly, knowing a person affects our lives deeply, either positively or negatively.
If we were to talk about someone we admire, care about, and know, I am sure that we would find it very easy to do. We could talk for hours, giving details, and sharing stories and anecdotes about our relationship. Could anyone deny or doubt our words? There is something about listening to a first-hand witness, an authentic testimony, that gives you an assurance and credibility that is unbeatable.
It is precisely for this reason that the gospel of Jesus Christ spread so quickly. Think about those Christians whose lives were in danger but who would gladly give everything up to defend the testimony of their Savior, Jesus Christ. They heard Jesus’s voice; they saw Him with their own eyes; they touched Him with their hands. Jesus was not an ethereal concept—He was real and worth living and dying for.
They could proclaim the good news about Jesus with boldness because they had a personal, real, and life-changing experience that led them to God the Father. Life itself was manifested in the person of Jesus Christ. Those who got to know Him dared to proclaim the good news about His life so that you and I could also have a personal experience and fellowship with Him.
Such a powerful testimony is not only worthy of our attention but also a challenging opportunity for us all. Do we know Jesus and have fellowship with Him, or have we been content with hearing about other people’s experiences and missed the opportunity to get to know God Himself? The apostle John wrote the epistle of 1 John so that our joy may be complete. Do you want to know about Him, or do you want to know Jesus Himself?