We live in a world of words. Whether spoken, written, sung, chanted, or screamed, the modern onslaught of words is slowly subduing every corner of our lives. In 1981, the late Henri Nouwen wrote:
“Over the last few decades we have been inundated by a torrent of words. Wherever we go we are surrounded by words: words softly whispered, loudly proclaimed, or angrily screamed; words spoken, recited, or sung; words on records, in books, on walls, or in the sky; words in many sounds, many colors, or many forms; words to be heard, read, seen, or glanced at; words which flicker off and on, move slowly, dance, jump, or wiggle. Words, words, words! They form the floor, the walls, and the ceiling of our existence. It has not always been this way. There was a time not too long ago without radios and televisions, stop signs, yield signs, merge signs, bumper stickers, and the ever-present announcements indicating price increases or special sales. There was a time without the advertisements which now cover whole cities with words.” (Way of the Heart, p 37-38)
The problem spawned by this oversaturation is that words begin to lose their meaning and hearers begin to lose discernment of what is true. With the advent of the internet, the torrent observed by Nouwen thirty years ago has become a veritable ocean that ever crashes forth upon us through the mediums of technology. Our laptops, mobile devices, phones, and televisions offer us a sea of ideas and yet still the thirst of our soul remains unquenched.
In light of such a state, the question must be asked: why this website? Do we really need more words? No. The body of Christ in modernity has shown little immunity from the blight of meaningless communication that threatens to strip language of all real significance and gravity. We do not need more words. Indeed, the crisis we face is not that we have yet to find the right song to sing or the right sermon to listen to, it is that by the time we reach adulthood we have already heard far too much. Our minds and hearts are cluttered with countless opinions, perspectives, and appeals – all vying for the precious commodity of our belief. The words that we need are those which compel us to flee from the bewildering, constant din of our culture so that we might hear the word that is from God. We need words that draw us into deep, adoring silence rather than pulling us further into the ocean of noise like a merciless riptide. From there we may then learn to speak. First, with the Lord Himself, and then, perhaps, we may at last have something of merit to say to our fellow man. For it is those who have stood and listened who are a voice (Jn. 3:29).
This word from God, the word of truth which cuts through the clamor and chatter, is no abstract utterance. The only necessary word, the word to which we must incline our ear above all else, is the Word – He who was in the beginning with God, He who is God, and through whom all things have their being (Jn. 1:1-4). And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. All truth, all wisdom is bound up in a life, a man – in the man Christ Jesus. He alone has the words of life (Jn. 6:63), and He alone is the Word of Life (1 Jn. 1:1-3). Always, even in silence, He is speaking because Jesus does not merely utter the words of God, His very identity is the Word. The crucial implication of this is that in Christ, “hearing” and “gazing” blur until they are nearly indistinguishable. We draw near to hear God’s voice, and we are told to look upon the form of a Jewish man. We fix our eyes on His face, and we are hearing Divine speech in the heights of its eloquence. David said his one desire was to gaze upon the beauty of the face of Yahweh (Ps. 27:4, 9). The one needful thing of Mary of Bethany was to sit as the feet of Jesus and listen (Lk. 10:38-42). Blessed are those with ears to hear and eyes to see. In Jesus, listening is beholding. Beholding Jesus. Ardently, adoringly, and unwaveringly we must behold Jesus. This is our great need, and more importantly, this is what He is worthy of.
The hope is that in the grace of God, the words – spoken and written – found on this site will provoke you to turn your eyes to Jesus in a very real and vital way. Beholding Christ is not a vague endeavor. We acquire the riches of the knowledge of Jesus (Eph 3:8) not by purchasing the right teaching series, attending a certain conference, living in particular place, experiencing a vision, or finding a specific book. The one necessary thing we must embrace is to actually open the Bible and, together with prayer and fasting, lovingly search out everything it says about the glory of who Jesus is and what He has done. As the Holy Spirit shines His light upon our hearts through the written word, the majesty of the divinity of Christ, the perfection of His humanity, the wisdom of His sovereign leadership, the tenderness of His mercy, the blood of His cross, the hope of His kingdom, the greatness of His strength, the details of His life and everything else about Him will become your sweetest portion in life. In drinking in the beauty of this Man, our souls will adore the splendor of His glory as they ought.
Other themes that might be found in the resources here (not least the importance of night & day devotion) must be seen as merely spokes shooting forth from the central concern to draw attention to majesty of Jesus. May He be looked to, treasured, adored, talked about, loved, and magnified above all else. Until He returns and has the preeminence in all things, may we be found beholding Jesus.