Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Key of Knowledge

I was reading in the Word trying to find something specific earlier today (isn't this how God sometimes grabs our attention? well, He does it to me sometimes), when I stumbled on a rather vitriolic passage in Luke where Jesus was lambasting the Pharisees and the 'lawyers' (i.e., the experts in Mosaic law). It was the climax of His diatribe against (or warning to) these people.
"Woe to you lawyers (* = teachers of the law)!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.”
  - Luke 11:59

Now, I've grown up in the organized church, and spent all of my life in that milieu. That expression, 'the key of knowledge' had always been preached to mean knowledge in the sense of accumulating knowledge about, or studying, or possibly moral wisdom. It's why we went to Sunday school, to learn 'about God.' It's why we were encouraged to memorize scriptures, to increase our knowledge, to know right from wrong and choose the right. It carries with it the feeling of following the rules in order to keep from being punished. 

But that is not what this word is talking about. I went to Strong's Concordance and discovered that this knowledge - the key to which the teachers of the law, the clergy of Jesus' day, had "taken away" - is translated from the Greek word gnosis or 'deeper or more perfect knowledge'... which is derived from another Greek root word  ginosko  ... common language for the ultimate act of intimacy within a marriage. 
Photo "Couple At Sunset"
courtesy of piyaphantawong at

Oh my. 

That brings a whole new meaning to this passage, doesn't it?  

Jesus was angry and so very saddened by how the religious teachers of His day didn't "get" the intended message of knowing God intimately, and not only did they not "get" it, they made it impossible for people to access that kind of information so that THEY could have any kind of relationship with God. 

Basically their lives sucked, and they wanted everyone else's lives to suck as much as theirs. And because they were in a position of leadership, and people looked to them for guidance, they succeeded in laying so much bondage on people, and making what should have been a free and beautiful relationship into a loveless, lifeless contract marked by a whole laundry list of dos and don'ts, with threats of punishment if they did not toe the line. 

I'm not pointing fingers.  The point here is not who is a Pharisee and who isn't. The point is not whether this or that pastor, this or that denomination is misguided at best.  No ... the point is that God wants to have a gloriously intimate, personal relationship with each of us. Jesus was all about that... because He knew that there was joy in it for us - and for Him. He knew that us living in fear was no way to live at all. He came to bring freedom so that people could actually BE FREE. 

And the key to that freedom is a growing intimacy with God. 

It isn't about whether we eat this or that, or drink this or that, or go here or there, or sing this or that, or say this or that. It is about allowing God into the deepest parts of us, those places nobody else is allowed to (or has a right to) go, letting Him express His delight in us, letting Him "know" us - in the most intimate way. Only in that deep knowledge, that total acceptance of His lavish love, that realization that He is for us and wants to pour out His love into and upon us, is there real peace and purpose and passion and power. That is true living. That is the moment-by-moment adventure.

That knowing (ginosko - or intimate knowing) is what Jesus was referring to when He said that in that 'day' of reckoning He would say (to those calling out "Lord, Lord...."), .... "I never knew you. Depart from Me..." (Mt 7:23)  He meant that two-becoming-one union, the kind that is only possible when we open up the most private parts of our selves to His love. He meant, in essence, "You never let Me intimately know you.

What a sad indictment! How much we have missed!! How small and puny our conception of God has become because we (in our arrogant insistence upon our own unworthiness and fearing His vengeance) dare not entertain the thought of the exceeding greatness of His love and grace! That love is the starting place of the journey; that is the pinnacle.

We are already there, if we but knew (accepted, opened ourselves to) it. He has already made a place for us in His lap - His arms are open wide and that spot, that special spot on His shoulder is aching for us to nestle in there and hear His heart beat for - and with - ours. 

Can we not hear His call? It is sweet, sad, yearning. It echoes in our own hearts and resonates in our own longing for something "more."  Let's press in. 

I dare you. Let's open ourselves to Him. Let's let Him in.

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