… it’s who you know. All the knowledge in the world won’t help when it comes to the most important question you’ll ever answer.
Sometimes, I can be a bit of a geek. No, really. I like facts, and knowing things. I like learning new stuff, the more obscure the better, and I used to have a bit of a reputation as someone to have on your team playing Trivial Pursuit. Those of you who are at school, college or uni will be finding that there are always new things to learn, stuff you need to know. If you leave home, start a new job, take up a new sport, you need to acquire the right knowledge. From where to find the toilets to how to do your job, from who likes the same things you do to how to do calculus or fix a car engine. In church, Sunday school or Bible class, you’re learning too. We learn about God and about Jesus. Knowing about stuff is important, and you never really stop learning things. No matter how much you know, there is always more.
But, there is more to it than that, and just knowing about stuff is not enough. Perhaps you have a favourite actor or musician. Maybe you know a lot about them. You read about them on the internet or in magazines. You know what kind of food they like, their birthday and their favourite colour. You know how many pets they have, the names of all their children and the first record they ever bought. You may know loads of things about them, but does that mean you can just roll up to their house and expect to pop in and stay with them? No. You may know all about them, but that doesn’t mean you know them.
Getting in to heaven is going to be just like that. Entry isn’t based on an exam, or a test or a quiz. When God asks you why you should get to spend eternity with him it won’t help if you can recite the whole of the Westminster Confession or list all the Bible facts you know, or even demonstrate that you’ve learned lots of complicated theology. When it comes to getting into heaven it’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
A lot of world religions – including Islam – teach that God is essentially unknowable. Their only hope for eternal life is to do as much good stuff as they can and hope that when they die, it will have been enough. We know that this isn’t going to work. No amount of ‘good work’ can outweigh our sin, just the same as no amount of knowing stuff will get us in to God’s house. Thankfully, we can know God, and the way to eternal life is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, who is God the Son. And it has to be a proper one on one relationship between him and us. If our parents or our friends are Christians, we can’t get in to heaven just by relying on them to get us in, we need to know him ourselves. If we do, we’ll be made welcome in his house when this life is over.
So, how do we get to have this relationship with Jesus? Well, suppose that you meet someone who you want to be friends with. You might talk about getting to know them better. So, do you just Google them? Follow them home to see where they live? Stake out their house and get to know their routine? I hope not! While it is good to get to know about your friends, if you want to get to know someone, you have to talk to them and spend time with them. Jesus is no different. If we want a relationship with him, we need to talk to him and ask him to be our friend. We need to pray to him and invite him into our hearts, and if we do that, he’ll invite us to live in his house forever.
So remember, when it comes down to it the important thing is not how much we know about Jesus, but whether we know him.