When I met Jesus, I recognized him right away.
I sat there staring into the campfire as we sang, “Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.” Suddenly my heart leapt in recognition. Me! He loves me! I stared up at the stars and began to weep as the truth in my head settled down into my heart. Among those countless stars, I felt seen. I knew it was Jesus whispering to my heart. I just knew it. I was 13 years old.
Years later I would often think about that moment and wonder why, on my 6,485th time of singing that song, did I finally feel loved by Jesus? And how did I know it was Him? Or five years later when I went on my first trip overseas and heard a still small voice in my heart say, “You could do this, you know. You could serve me in another country,” I trusted that voice and started on a path to pursue that very thing. Why did I trust that voice and that message? Looking back, I can conclude that my ability to recognize Jesus was due to the fact that I had been given His bio ahead of time.
Like when you go to the airport to pick up someone you’ve never met before, you know that you will recognize this person, either because of some identifying feature or because you were given some description ahead of time. For years I had read Scripture and been taught, “This is what God is like,” so that when the Holy Spirit graced me, I could recognize the character of the voice speaking to me.
Not only that, but I was taught these truths by parents, friends, and mentors who regularly showed me love. And when I love others, I am preparing them to encounter Jesus and know Him. The apostle John put it this way, “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Everyone who loves has become a child of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7 NIrV, emphasis mine).
Scripture, together with God’s children showing love, is the bio that helps a lost world recognize their Savior when He appears to them.
No doubt you have read accounts of people being given dreams by God where Jesus appears to them. And while they are compelled by the dream to meet Jesus, they often must find someone to introduce them to Him or help them recognize who He is. No prior bio has been given. Scripture, together with God’s children showing love, is the bio that helps a lost world recognize their Savior when He appears to them.
“See what amazing love the Father has given us! Because of it, we are called children of God. And that’s what we really are! The world doesn’t know us because it didn’t know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God. He still hasn’t let us know what we will be. But we know that when Christ appears, we will be like Him. That’s because we will see Him as He really is.” (1 John 3:1-2 NIrV)
We will see Him, and we will know Him!