I didn’t know how to respond at first. I had always heard about cliff diving, but it was never something I thought I’d actually do, being out of my realm of comfort. Zack, one of my best friends, knew a lot about cliff diving though. He’s the classic surfer-bro type of guy to do anything and everything to get his adrenaline pumping. He was my only hope of breaking free from the boring cycle of monotony homeschooling gives you unless you get out and do something about it. He got me out to do something about it. Without him, I’d have no sense of humor, no passion for the thrills of life, nor any sense of adventure.

One day, Zack called me out of the blue in the middle of the week. Zack doesn’t call you unless either (1) his car exploded again, (2) he wants to plan a party, or (3) you’re about to go on an adventure with him whether you like it or not. With a bubbling concoction of exhilaration and nervous hesitation, I picked it up faster than a caffeinated roadrunner.

“Hey Zack, what’s up man?” I asked.
“Nothing much man! Just wanted to call and see what’s up with you!” Zack replied.
“I’m good, man, what are you up to?”
“Dude, I’m about to go cliff diving up in San Clemente!”
“Woah! What? That’s crazy man!”
“Yeah man, I’m about to head out.”

In the brief moment of pause, I could already hear it coming…

“You wanna come with me?”

By four o’clock, we were in San Clemente at a secret beach he and maybe five other people knew about. We had no lifeguard, only a few witnesses, and a ravenous eagerness to hurl ourselves off of a thirty-something foot ledge and into the ocean. I cannot tell you what cliff jumping is like. I could describe to you every detail, but it’s just not nearly the same as living it. The rush, the risk, the reward, all of it is just a pure assault on your senses that cannot be contained in words. For me, this is what life in Christ is akin to.

No words can capture the full experience that Jesus offers. I’ve tried to explain it to my peers on many occasion, but I always fall short or do it a mighty disservice. You really just have to try it for yourself. This is why Jesus’s invitation is not simply one to receive some hidden knowledge or grandiose ideology. It’s an invitation to experience for ourselves a life greater than our current existence.

“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, ‘What are you seeking?’ And they said to him, ‘Rabbi’ […] ‘where are you staying?’ He said to them, ‘Come and you will see.’ […]”
John 1:38-39 ESV

I find it intriguing that Jesus’s first disciples asked for a “rabbi” or in our language, a teacher—someone who could enlighten their minds with wise and true sayings. What they received was neither a lesson, nor a curriculum, but an invitation to come and experience for themselves what He was all about, life and life in abundance (John 10:10). Jesus didn’t offer hedonistic, self-indulgent ideals many think of when they hear “the life.” He proposed something so much greater: a new way, a new truth, a new life, all centered on love, put on display by his life, death, and resurrection. Jesus makes this same invitation to us to this very day.

“Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

Psalms 34:8 ESV
I don’t get the sense what Jesus desires is a load of hyper-fans who know a lot about Him, but have never taken the time to walk or talk with Him. No, He desires for us to take refuge in Him. Not just hang around him because He’s the most popular guy at the party, but to abide in him (John 15), surround ourselves with Himself, and to taste and see for ourselves how good The Life really is.

Since reading this passage, I no longer look at my Bible the same way. No longer is it just a book of wise sayings and good theology for me. Don’t get me wrong, it certainly is that, but it’s so much more. Instead, every time I crack it open now, I feel like I’m opening an envelope to the King’s banquet, or I’m getting that call from my best friend. I don’t want to just hear about the feast, I want to eat it. I don’t want to just read about cliff diving, I want to take the jump myself. Now, when I see those red letters on the page and I can hear Jesus ask, “You wanna come with me?”

So now only one question remains. Will you accept the invitation? Will you dive in with me? Are you coming with? Amen.

Jared Graf

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