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To Be Known

September 22, 2011

There is an obvious difference between knowing something and knowing about something…and this is not just true of faith and religion…it applies across the whole of our existence.  We’re in the middle of the social networking phenomenon.  Between the MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter worlds, we are able to know all about people.  We can know their likes, dislikes, political views, religious affiliation and can even look at pictures from their last vacation…we can know all about them…and never actually know them.

I always ask, and today is no exception…so take a moment and read through Acts 18:18-28.

Paul has been in Corinth for the last 18 months…working to establish a church in the middle of what was one of the most corrupt cities of the ancient world.  He sets out with Priscilla and Aquila and heads to Cenchreae…where he gets a haircut.  This little detail is marking either the beginning or ending of what is called a Nazirite vow…a period of time set apart for the Lord.  He gets to Ephesus and begins to do what he does…he went to the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.  Again, this is just what Paul does.  He doesn’t make weird posters and stand in the street yelling at people.  He doesn’t go to the coliseum and put religious tracts on everyone’s chariots.  He goes and reasons…he engages in conversation…with those who are seeking the Lord.

Verses 22-23 mark the end of his second missionary journey and the beginning of his third.  He travels throughout Galatia and Phrygia “strengthening the disciples.”  He’s training them.  He’s encouraging them.  He’s challenging them…no doubt he has learned how to engage people and reason with them for the sake for the Gospel.  He’s training others to do the same.  Not just to make converts…to make disciples.

In the remaining verses, we’re introduced to Apollos.  He’s from Alexandria, a city that is highly regarded as a center of Hellenistic culture and intellect.  The famous library of Alexandria contained somewhere in the neighborhood of four hundred-thousand manuscripts.  We’re told that he was “an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures.”  This means he knew the Old Testament.  He knows the Jewish faith.  He understands the sinful nature of man brought by the fall, and he knows of the covenant that God made with mankind to redeem them from their sin.  The story of the Bible is God redeeming His people…from themselves.  Apollos knew this story.

He understands the necessity of a savior…he knows of the need for the Messiah and what that One will do when he comes…what he doesn’t know is that he has already come.  Verse 25 says that he “taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.”  He knew all about Jesus, what He would do, and even where He would be…but he didn’t know that He had done it…didn’t know that He had been there.

Many of us are a lot like Apollos.  We know all about Jesus…but we don’t know Jesus.  Priscilla and Aquila pull him aside and tell him of all the things that Jesus had done.  Apollos, for the first time, knew the whole story.  And in verse 28, we’re told that he began to powerfully refute the Jews in public, “showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”  They can stop looking.  They can quit waiting…the King has been there…the King has redeemed His people.

Many of us know the profile for Jesus.  We’re “friends.”  We know His likes, His dislikes…we’ve heard all the stories and even sung the songs.  But the call of the Christian is not to know about Jesus…it’s to know Jesus…to know that He is the Christ…the Savior…the One…that we might stand with Apollos and proclaim Him to the people…to know Him and to make Him known.

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