Beyond the Book Review: Not a Fan: Intimacy vs. Knowledge

Is it Friday yet? I’m not one for wishing my life away, but I am ready to put this week behind me!

Yesterday, we started Chapter 3 of Not of Fan by Kyle Idleman, titled Knowledge About Him or Intimacy with Him. We talked about how a lot of us mistake our knowledge about Jesus for intimacy with Jesus. Kyle explained that we can know everything there is to know about Jesus, similar to the Pharisees knowledge of the Old Testament, but still not have a real relationship with Jesus Christ.

Today we will take a closer look at intimacy and try to figure out just how intimate we are to be with Christ.

Genesis 4:1 (NKJ): 4 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain.

The Hebrew word for “knew” as used in the NKJ version is the word “yada.” The best definition of the word as used here is most likely something along the lines of “to know completely.”

Yes, there are different words used in the New Living Translation and NIV, but while it may seem weird, both version are referring to the same kind of “yada.”

Genesis 4:1 (NLT): Now Adam[a] had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant.

“You get the picture? That is our context for yada’. Now don’t just giggle and brush past this. This is not just a “yada, yada, yada” moment, okay? This is a YADA moment between husband and wife. It’s this intimate connection on every level. To know and be known completely. It’s a beautiful picture that helps us get at what it really means to know Christ. There are other Hebrew words that could have been used to describe the sexual intimacy taking place. These words for sex are used later in Scripture and refer to the physical act even procreation. But the word in Genesis 4 is the Hebrew word for “know.” Clearly when the Bible uses this word (yada) for “know” it means much more than knowledge. It describes the most intimate of connections. One Hebrew Scholar defines the word this way: ‘A mingling of the soul.’ That’s more than knowledge, that’s intimacy.” (p.47)

I know it sounds weird, but this is the kind of relationship God wants us to have with him. He wants to know us completely, and he wants us to know him completely. God already knows us completely. He knows us better than we know ourselves. So, it is the other half that needs to do some more work.

Still not buying it?

“If you trace the usage of yada’ through the Old Testament, you’ll find that over and over again, this is the same word that ‘s used to describe God’s relationship with us. Over and over, yada’ is the word that’s used to describe how God wants to be known by you, In fact, that’s the way he already know you.

Psalms 139: O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. 2 You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. 3 You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. 4 You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD.

Think about that! The same word, the same connection used to describe a man and a wife is used to describe how God knows you and how he wants to be known by you. This completely changed the way I defined my relationship with Jesus. I began to see what he wanted from me as a follower. Instead of identifying myself as a follower because I know about Jesus, I understand that I am a follower because I know Jesus.” (p. 48)

Now, let’s go back to Luke 7 and the story of the woman who washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair.

If you remember from yesterday, the Pharisee (Simon) knew all about the prophecies of the coming messiah, but he was not able to recognize Jesus when he was eating dinner with him. Yet, there was a prostitute who heard him teach (probably just hours before) who couldn’t wait to see him again. Yes, this sinful prostitute was able to recognize Jesus as the Messiah when the “religious” man was not.

Kyle gives such a vivid illustration of what he believes transpires in Luke 7 that I just have to share.

“She was desperate to see Jesus again, and she overheard someone saying that he was having dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee-a dinner she would never be invited to attend, not in a thousand years. Of course, normally she would have no interest in attending. She had felt the condemning glares of the Pharisees enough to stay as far away as possible from places like Simon’s house. But she had to see Jesus. It’s hard to imagine what it would take for her to walk into that courtyard. But she is so focused on Jesus that she forgets about herself. She is desperate to express the love and affection she feels for him. What she does next is reckless, it’s inappropriate, and it’s exactly the kind of follower Jesus wants.

Picture the scene. Jesus is reclining at the table. Instead of using chairs they would lean on an elbow that was propped by a cushion. Their feet would be away from the table. This woman approaches and stands at the filthy feet of Jesus. The table grows silent. Everybody is watching. Everybody knows who she is. What is she doing? She looks around at the guests. She feels from some that familiar glare of condemnation. Others keep their eyes down, embarrassed by her presence and awkwardness of the moment. But when she looks at Jesus, he seems to know what has happened in her heart. He gives her a warm smile. He seems delighted that she has come, and he looks at her with the eyes of a loving father watching his beautiful daughter as she enters the room. She has never had a man look at her that way before. She is so undone by this that the tears come, just a few at first, and then a few more. She falls to the ground and begins to kiss his feet. Soon, the tears are just pouring down her face. They begin to drip on the dirty feet of Jesus. As she looks at the muddy streaks she suddenly realizes that his feet haven’t been washed. She can’t ask for a towel, so she lets down her hair. In those days women always wore their hair up in public. For a woman to wear her hair down in front of a man who was not her husband was considered to be such an intimate expression that it was literally grounds for divorce. She lets her hair down in front of Jesus and there was likely an audible gasp. She begins washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and drying them with her hair.

Then Luke says she an alabaster jar of ointment. Most likely this refers to the flask that was often worn around the neck as a kind of perfume for women. As you might guess, because of her profession, the flask was quite important. She had used it a drop at a time many, many, times, for many men. But know she empties it. She just empties the whole thing out. She will not need it anymore. She pours the flask, her life, on his feet, and she kisses them over and over. At the end of the story Jesus says to Simon:

‘Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the first time I came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.’Luke 7:44-46 NLT (Not a Fan p. 49-50)

Can you feel the intimacy of this moment?

It is obvious from this illustration that the Pharisee is a fan. He knows a lot about Jesus, but he does not know Jesus. The woman may have been a prostitute. She may have been a sinner. But she now knows Jesus and she is not afraid to show it; she is not afraid to be intimate. I love the words Kyle used to describe the pouring of the perfume: “She just empties the whole thing out. She will not need it anymore. She pours the flask, her life on his feet.” In other words, she gives him everything, every part of her life, because she is no longer the same women. She doesn’t need the perfume because her life as a prostitute is over. Her new life is just beginning. She laid all her burdens at the feet of Jesus.

The questions I have for you today: Who are you most like in this story? When was the last time you had a moment with Jesus like the woman in this story? When was the last time you poured your heart out to him? Have you ever laid your life at his feet?

Be blessed and be a blessing!

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