Last night Keith had guard duty, so I was on my own in the evening. I tried watching some TV, but nothing was holding my attention, so I watched a documentary on Netflix.
Afterward, I felt Jesus nudge me to spend quiet time with Him, so I willingly turned the TV off and got ready for bed.
There was a lot of stuff to go over with Jesus, from everything that had happened that day, starting with my intense feelings of discouragement and confusion in the early morning, and all the things I had learned in the late afternoon.
In bed, I sat for a few moments just talking to Jesus, before reading. It was so quiet and calm. I felt Him very close to me.
When I opened the Bible, I found I was at the first letter from Peter. As I was reading along, I got to this phrase:
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love."
I Peter 1:6-8a
As usual, that phrase, "Whom, having not seen, you love," just caught me like a hook and I was stuck there.
I can just see Peter's wonder and awe, all over again, at the fact that he is catching men for Jesus, just as Jesus had said he would.
And these men and women have never met Jesus in person, have never known Him or heard His voice or listened to His teaching, and yet, they love Him.
But Peter had seen Jesus, of course. Peter had been very close to Jesus, for three and a half years. Peter knew Jesus.
This thought produced in me a great longing and sorrow, which I offered up to Jesus.
And Jesus said, you know Me.
"No, I don't," I sighed. "I could never really know You. You're God."
You know Me, Jesus insisted.
I hesitated to contradict Jesus, but I couldn't understand what He meant; I didn't understand how it could be true.
"But I never knew You in person like..."
The flesh profits nothing, Jesus said, interrupting my thought.
I paused, and marveled. Jesus was quoting Himself, from the passage where He had declared that His flesh and blood were true food, and may of His disciples left Him.
He had said to them, "It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak are spirit and they are life." (John 6:63)
Even as I was beginning to grasp what He meant, Jesus reminded me, very clearly, of what He had said to the disciples that last night:
"However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Advocate, Intercessor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you [into close fellowship with you]; but if I go away, I will send Him to you [to be in close fellowship with you]."
John 16:7, Amplified Bible
But you know what? I still didn't fully understand. I wasn't getting it, because my mind was so stuck on wanting to know Jesus in person.
I finished reading the rest of that book, then I read some of John and then I flipped to Luke and read about the start of Jesus' ministry.
I read about how He sat in Peter's boat, teaching the multitudes on the shore. And then, afterwards, Jesus says to Peter:
"Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4b)
Oh my goodness. That phrase just went on ringing and ringing in my head like bells. I repeated it to myself over and over again, wondering.
Launch out into the deep...
How beautiful that sounds, beautiful and almost scary. Into the deep... What deep? What catch?
By this time, I was so tired that I couldn't read anymore, so I put the Bible away and called Keith to say goodnight.
When the light was out, I lay in the dark, resting in the close and loving presence of Jesus, thinking over everything I had read.
I thought about those words Jesus had said to me: you know Me.
Finally, I got it. I realized that, compared to how I had known Him before, I did know Him very well. I knew His voice and even sometimes felt His emotion.
My relationship with Him had exploded out into all directions and into such deep places, because I was growing more and more into the profound and deep truth that Jesus lives in me and I in Him.
That is an intimate way of knowing Him- even more than knowing Him in person. Knowing Jesus this ways leads to a huge catch of understanding and growth.
Then I was filled with wonder and adoration.
It is like this:
"But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God."
I Corinthians 2:10-12