Good Things Come from Good Foundations
The best thing Jesus can give someone is a right understanding of himself.
Whether you’re a skeptic or a believer, we know from nature that good things come from a good foundation. A simple example would be a 200-floor apartment building that’s built terribly. It doesn’t matter if the penthouse has a $10,000 kitchen, heated flooring, a jacuzzi bathtub, and top of the line pieces of furniture, you won’t buy it – or, I hope you wouldn’t. The reality is that each apartment in the building rests and is dependent on the same horrible foundation, therefore, their quality isn’t in themselves but in the foundation.
In a similar thought, when talking about teachers who promote false truth, Jesus says,
“You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:16-20)
Jesus is teaching his followers to beware of false teachers by judging their fruits – their words and actions. If their words and actions, though perhaps outwardly attractive, prove to be wrong, then you have reason to believe they’re false teachers. An apple on a tree may look perfect, but if you take a bite and find yourself chewing on rotten mush and worms, then you can confidently presume that that tree is bad.
So, how does this relate with the fact that the best thing Jesus can give someone is a right understanding of himself?
Two Types of Knowing Someone
Well, every person can be known partially or foundationally. For example, if you’ve bought your morning coffee from the same barista for a year and have only engaged in insignificant and short conversations, then you just know them partially. Even though you’ve experienced an interaction with this barista for an entire year, you still only know a fragment of who they are. Therefore, making a judgment on their character or value would be silly and wrong.
But take a close friend, relative or spouse. Hopefully you’ve engaged with them on a deeper level then your barista. You’ve seen their good days, you’ve seen their bad days. They’ve laughed with you, cried with you, and shared with you their longings and desires. You can say that you know this person foundationally, therefore, making a judgment on their character is more valid.
So, when it comes to Jesus, would you say you know him partially or foundationally? That’s an important question. If you know Jesus partially, then your judgments of him will undoubtedly be invalid and untrue. On the other hand, if you know Jesus foundationally, you have a much better chance at affirming his character and value truthfully.
How Have You Judged Jesus?
For those of you who have “tried” Jesus and come to the conclusion that you’re better off without him, then I’d guess that you weren’t “trying” the real Jesus or you didn’t “try” him enough. You see, every “fruit” (word and action) of Jesus proves good and true – which confirms the goodness of his foundation. Many skeptics and ex-Christians probably have only tasted false Christ’s whose fruits were rotten. Or, they’ve only partially known the real Christ, and don’t have enough knowledge of him to bank all their hope on him.
Therefore, the best thing Jesus can give someone is a right understanding of himself – or, in other words, a foundational understanding of himself. If you foundationally know Christ, then your life will consistently prove itself good, since you never cease from eating and enjoying his fruits.
Pray for a Foundational Knowledge of Jesus
All that said, pray that Christ would give you a true understanding of himself. Pray this more than your prayers for success, health, and whatever else you need. For if you know the right Christ foundationally, you will forever enjoy his goodness in your life, no matter the circumstances you find yourself in.