Now what? Within a few days, most retirees ask themselves that question. I also asked God and was startled by His specific answer. No, I don’t hear Him audibly but am occasionally sure Who is speaking. His answer? “Spend time getting to know Jesus.” What??? I had spent the last 25 years doing just that, I thought, in seminary and serving as a pastor. I felt a bit offended, felt like saying, “Hey, God, I’m a professional…” He didn’t budge.
I can’t say I embarked on an orderly, intense process of study; it’s not in my wiring. But, over the last several years, His assignment has been on my front burner. Here’s what I have learned: I don’t have even the slightest sliver of a clue of Who Jesus really is. Not even close. The magnitude of Jesus is beyond my capacity to understand. Like, as Albert Einstein once said, “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
Speaking about worship, Annie Dillard asked, “Does anyone have the foggiest idea of what sort of power we blithely invoke?” and suggested, if we did, we’d wear crash helmets and life preservers in church. I’m beginning to see how right she is. John spent the better part of three years in daily contact with Jesus. And yet, when he encountered a vision of Jesus on the island of Patmos, he could hardly comprehend what he was seeing and cowered in fear.
Here’s how Paul tried to express the magnitude of Jesus. Take time to ponder the full impact of each phrase:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1:15-20)