KNOWINGPrint This Page.
"The woman said to Him, Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet" (v. 19). Because Christ told her everything that she ever did, she perceived that this was no ordinary man. He must be a prophet. Jesus said something more to show her that He was not merely a prophet: "Believe Me" (v. 21). The woman said, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when He comes, He will declare all things to us" (v. 25). What did Jesus answer her? He said, "I, who speak to you, am He" (v. 26). The first thing that a sinner needs to do is not to repent and change his behavior, but to realize who Jesus is. All will be well if he realizes who Jesus is.Later the woman returned to the city and told the people, "Come, see a man who told me all that I have done. Is this not the Christ?" (v. 29). I do not like the words, "Is this not." Since she knew that this man was the Christ, why did she say, "Is this not"? At any rate, she believed and went to tell others that Christ had come. You can see clearly that the whole issue is not about doctrine but about a person! Our basic concern is not doctrines. Rather, it is seeing who Jesus is! Once we have the Lord Jesus, we will have real satisfaction; we will be filled with the sense of having acquired everything.We will see a little more from John 5. It seems that in chapter five the Lord Jesus spoke some doctrines. But actually not much was expounded. It was once again an invitation to receive the knowledge of who Jesus of Nazareth is. He spoke some words, but they were to lead us to believe into Him. The Lord Jesus said that the Jews searched the Scriptures. But the Scriptures, the Lord pointed out, are a witness to Him. What is written there concerns Him. It is important to know the Scriptures. But more important than that is the knowledge of who Jesus of Nazareth is. The question is not what kind of teaching He teaches, but what kind of a person He isWhen we come to John 6, the matter is brought out in an even clearer way. "Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger, and he who believes into Me shall by no means ever thirst" (v. 35). He did not preach any doctrine. He just said, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall by no means hunger." Have you seen the implication here? If I say that I am your bread of life and that he who eats me shall never hunger, you will surely say that Mr. Nee is a madman from Shanghai. Religious leaders can only give doctrines to others. They cannot give themselves to others. But Jesus is different. He is the bread of life. He is also the thirst-quenching water. The problem is in the people's unbelief in Him. When anyone believes in Him, everything will be all right."I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down out of heaven, that anyone may eat of it and not die" (vv. 48-50). These are words that no other can speak. Only Jesus can say this. He is neither a madman nor a liar. And whatever He says always points back to Himself. This man is the bread of life. He who eats of Him shall not die!Hence, our Christian faith is based on the issue of who Jesus of Nazareth is. We are not spending time merely to study His teachings. We are only asked to answer one question: who is He? What Christ proclaimed persistently on the earth was not His doctrines but Himself. The focus is not on the doctrines but on the person. As far as doctrines go, the books of Confucius and Mencius are filled with philosophies, ethics, and morality; they far exceed those in the Bible. But there is only one issue: who is Jesus of Nazareth? Do you know? Who is this Jesus of Nazareth?Let us read on. John 6:51: "I am the living bread which came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread which I will give is My flesh, given for the life of the world."Here His words become more and more peculiar. It is strange enough to say that He is the bread of life which came down out of heaven. Now He says that he who eats Him, not only will not die, but will live forever. This is extraordinary. Even more intriguing are the words that say that the bread He gives is His very flesh. No wonder the Jews at that time said that it was a hard saying. Who can take this? It is right! We never heard such words before. We never heard them from Confucius, from Mencius, from Lao-tze, from Chuan-tze, or from any other sages. We never heard them in China or in any other country. No man has ever spoken such words.After Christ spoke such words, verse 52 says, "The Jews then contended with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat?" What doctrine did Jesus preach? None. All that He said was to eat His flesh. Verses 55 and 56 say, "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in him." You can see that He is only emphasizing Himself. This is not a set of doctrines. Rather, it is the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood. Those who eat and drink will live forever.When we come to John 7, we see the last day of a great feast. Jesus spoke some words in front of those who were attending the feast. "On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water" (vv. 37-38). Just imagine: on one of our busy festive holidays, I, Watchman Nee, stand up in the midst of a crowd and shout, "If you are thirsty, come to me and drink. He who believes in me, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water." What would you say? You would surely say that I am a senseless fool from Shanghai who is talking nonsense. But that was exactly what Jesus did and said. There was really no doctrine; there was just the person Christ.On that day when Jesus spoke those words, a dispute arose among the Jews. Some said that this truly had to be the Christ. Others reasoned how Christ could come out of Galilee. In trying to answer who this man was, an argument arose among the Jews. The argument centered around one thing: who was this Jesus of Nazareth? A genuine Christian is one who believes that Jesus is the Christ.Further on in John 8:12, Jesus told the crowd, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." You can see that again His words are not doctrinal. The emphasis here is the "light" and the "I." It is not the practice of His teachings that makes a Christian. Rather, it is a relationship with Christ that qualifies us as one. Only by believing into Him will we receive the light of life. Only by receiving Him will we not walk in darkness.John 8:21-22 says, "He said therefore again to them, I am going away, and you will seek Me and will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come. The Jews then said, He is not going to kill Himself, is He, for He says, Where I am going, you cannot come?" The Jews were confused again. Where is the place He is going that we cannot go? They thought that perhaps He was going to commit suicide. Actually if that place could be reached by committing suicide, the Jews could still get to it by killing themselves. How could the Lord go to a place to which they could not go? Verse 23 says, "And He said to them, You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world." It is because of this that where the Lord was going they could not go.Furthermore, they did not die in their sins because they were murderers and adulterers. Verse 24 is crucial, especially the latter half: "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." The King James Version added the word "he" after "I am." Let us quote the words of the original text. The Lord said, "You will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins." The question is whether or not you believe that He is. What does this mean? It means that of the millions of people in humanity, you can pick out one and say, "This is He! This is God!" We want to examine Jesus of Nazareth to see if He indeed is! If we believe that He is, we will not die in our sins. Many are believing in a distorted Christianity, but we want to believe according to what Christianity really is. The first question we must ask is whether or not Jesus of Nazareth is.Once again the Jews retorted by asking, "Who are You?" (v. 25). Jesus' answer seemed to say, "This is not the first time that I tell you who I am. Concerning this matter I have never given in. I told you that I am; I am the One." Time after time He proved to others that He is; He is the Son of God.If we read the Gospel of John through, we will find that every passage concerns this one point: Jesus is the Christ. In John 10 the Jews surrounded Him and said, "How long will you hold our soul in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly" (v. 24). The question still hung on this one point.How did Jesus answer? He said, "I told you, and you do not believe...You do not believe, because you are not of My sheep" (vv. 25-26). All who do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He is God incarnated as a man, are not Christians. Those who do not recognize Him as the Son of God do not have the life of Christ in them; they are not His sheep. Upon this issue stands the whole basis of the Christian faith.In John 11 Jesus said again, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes into Me, even if he should die, shall live" (v. 25). Can a common mortal utter such words?In John 12 Jesus cried out aloud, "He who believes into Me does not believe into Me, but into Him who sent Me; and he who beholds Me beholds Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that every one who believes into Me would not remain in darkness" (vv. 44-46). You can see that the One who sent Him hinges on Him. To believe into Him is to believe into the One who sent Him. To see Him is to see the One who sent Him. The light also hinges on Him. To be in the light is to believe into Him. Everything hinges on Him.Then in John 14 the Lord said, "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe into God, believe also into Me" (v. 1). He wants us to believe into Him in the same way that we believe into God. The one thing He always insists upon is the demand to believe in Him.John 15 speaks of some who hate the Lord. He said, "He who hates Me hates My Father also" (v. 23). Once again He reveals that He and the Father are one.In John 16, the Lord said that one day the Holy Spirit would come and convict the world concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment. Why concerning sin? The explanation is in verse 9: "Concerning sin, because they do not believe into Me," because they do not believe that He is the Son of God. This is a sin, a very serious sin. When the Holy Spirit comes, He will convict men, and they will realize how serious a sin it is not to believe in Jesus being the Son of God.One further passage in the Gospel of John will suffice. 17:3: "And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Him whom You have sent, Jesus Christ." Here we are shown what eternal life is. The Lord's definition of eternal life is to know God. Believing in the eternal God and believing in His sent One—Jesus Christ—is eternal life. Eternal life hinges upon this person.I hope that we would all realize who Jesus of Nazareth is. Our faith does not have any empty doctrines. It is based on the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. To receive Jesus Christ is to receive