I watched a Youtube video of Dr Paul Lim giving a talk about how he became a Christian that illustrated the difference between mental understanding and spiritual dawning or revelation. Paul Lim was a Korean, born in Korea but emigrated to USA as a child following the arrest and imprisonment of his father in Korea for political activity. From that point onwards, he had not felt he belonged or established friendships until he entered university where he found and joined in with people pursuing a hedonistic lifestyle. Listening to him his life aims at that time were wealth and success and he despised Christians and Christianity despite his mother being a Christian and strongly encouraging him to go to Korean church. He did spend time at university studying religion and rejected it having been taught by skeptical academics. To his great disappointment his sister became engaged to a man who was training to be a Pastor. His mother for the sake of the family face asked Dr Lim to go to a conference his brother in law to be was helping lead. Paul hated every aspect of the conference. Then near the end of the conference he was sitting in a worship session not enjoying himself when they sang, not that well, Keith Green’s song, “To obey is better than sacrifice, I don’t need your money, I want your life”. To Paul’s surprise he found he was sobbing uncontrollably. To him the words were not being sung by a dubious worship group but were Jesus speaking directly into him. God did not want the money he valued above all, he wanted his life. He had encountered Jesus. The pro and con arguments of academia had not become irrelevant, he still had loads of questions but now they were reset because he had met Jesus. Jesus wanted him. It was now demanding and relational. His life was re-centred from that moment onwards.
Peter’s experience was similar. It was a moment of revelation. Peter had witnessed miracles of healing, the feeding of crowds of four and five thousand people from meagre amounts of food and along with the other disciples he had still not fully grasped who Jesus was. The eyes of the disciples were on the miracle and not the miracle maker. Mark 8.14-21 Jesus in his frustration said, ‘Do you not yet understand?’ Mark 8.21 There then followed Jesus’ healing of a blind man at Bethsaida, where he slowly regained his sight by stages. Jesus asked the disciples, ‘Who do people say I am?’ He got back a range of answers, Elijah, John the Baptist raised from the dead or another prophet. Jesus then said, ‘Who do you say I am.’ Mark 8,29 Peter came back with, ‘You are the Christ.’ Mark 8.29 It was for Peter a moment of revelation. The evidence had fallen into place and suddenly he knew. It is you Jesus. You are the one my heart has been longing for even if I hadn’t realised it.
Are we still unsure who Jesus is?
Has our heart responded to Jesus as Peter’s and Dr Lim’s did?
Are we praying that the spiritual eyes of others are opened even if it seems impossible?
If you would like to watch Dr Paul Lim tell his story here is the link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJ9TfkdgeFc – From atheist to Christian at Yale
To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice – Keith Green