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“We live to know Jesus Christ personally and to make him known.”
That’s what our church is about, and the word we’re looking at today is “and”.
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You thought it was meaningless, didn’t you? A throw away word, an empty conjunction. Whoa, whoa, whoa, my friend! Don’t be so quick to disregard this little fella!
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In the English language, it usually is a filler word, a means of extending the sentence. In biblical Greek, though, it can carry more significance than that. When I took basic Greek in the summer of 2011, I would ride the bus to and from Regent College every day studying my vocabulary flash cards. For every Greek word, I would drill into my mind the possible English equivalents. Some of those are ingrained in my mind to this day. And for the Greek word “kai”, I memorized: and, even, also, namely. Even. Namely. Indicating that what is to follow is not just a random extra phrase tacked on to the sentence, but an explanation or expansion of the first part.
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It might surprise you to learn that we didn’t compose our vision statement in Greek, and then proceeded to translate it into English. So I can’t really claim this was the original intent of including the word “and”. But theologically, I think it works.
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What comes next in the statement, “to make him known”, is not something separate from the first part, “to know Jesus Christ personally”. These are not two different, unique goals that we made into one sentence. To make Jesus known is necessarily, intrinsically connected to knowing him. To truly know him is also, even, namely, to make him known. You can’t do the one without doing the other. Knowing Jesus changes you, it changes your words, it changes your deeds, it changes your fundamental motivation in life. The more you know him, the more your whole life will be oriented around him, and it will absolutely become evident to those around you. You can’t do the one thing without the other.
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So don’t pursue knowing Jesus unless you’re ok with also making him known. This isn’t an exercise in modern-day monk-making, where you sit in your cell all day in private, pious silence and have no contact without the impure outside world. Knowing Jesus will necessarily entail making him known.