It is no side issue that Jesus walked with his disciples for 3 years. He could have just randomly selected a group of young men to send to the upper room or written his own Gospel and sent it far and wide the by hands of couriers. He could have held a 50-minute class every day for anyone to attend and in this way he would have had far more students. Instead He chose only 12 men…few enough that He could give Himself to them wholly. He lived with them day and night. He gave them more than teachings and instructions, He gave them Himself. His desire was that they would not merely be teachers or preachers about Him, but rather “witnesses” unto Him. In fact, Jesus even told John’s disciples to report back to him what they had HEARD and SEEN; that is to say, what they had personally experienced.
There are so many preachers and so few witnesses, so many that know about Him and so few that know him. Our fine Bible Colleges are invested in teaching about Jesus, but the real power lies in knowing Him intimately and experientially. Daniel 11:32 says, “…but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” This experiential knowledge of God is so critical for the servant of God and without it we are nothing but talking heads.
The “Seven Sons of Sceva” met a man possessed with a demon and confronted the evil power with an imitation of Paul’s effective technique. “We adjure you” they said, “by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” Acts 19:15 says, “And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you? (16) And the man in whom the evil spirt was leaped on them, and overcame them and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
We often hear about the power of the name of Jesus, but this story illustrates one potent fact; knowing the name is not enough…you must know the man behind the name Himself. Paul had power over these evil spirits not because he could use the name of Jesus, like a spell from a book of incantations, but because he had met the Man, Christ Jesus Himself, on the road to Damascus and knew Him personally.
In the 6th chapter of his book, Isaiah “saw the Lord”. That vision was the defining moment of Isaiah’s life transforming him from an ordinary youth with unclean lips to an extraordinary mouthpiece for the living God. It is this moment that we all need. It is not enough to learn about God, to sing about Him, to read about Him. It is not enough to pray and preach and try to live right. It is not even enought to flow in the gifts and see the evidences of His power. We need that defining moment. That vision, that Burning Bush, that Mount of Transfiguration, that Bethel, that Sainai, that Mt Carmel, that Damascus Road. We need to know God through Jesus Christ and experience Him personally. That is where the great power is.