Lately I’ve been reflecting on what it means to know Jesus. How well do I know Jesus? How can I know Him more, and grow in intimacy with Him?
Well, what does it mean ‘to know’ someone? If I get to know another person, I might first find out where they are from, their family background, their interests, likes and dislikes. I might then discover more about them by talking more and spending time with them, getting to know their character traits and personality, eventually developing a trust with them. Getting to know someone is not one-sided though. If I am getting to know someone I don’t just find out about them, but I open myself up to being known by them too.
So, how well do I know Jesus? I know the facts of His person and life. I know that Jesus is God and became a man to reach a troubled world (John 3:16-17). I know that He had earthly parents called Mary and Joseph (Luke 3). I know that He had a tendency to befriend the people in society that others treated as outcasts – prostitutes, lepers, people who were poor and physically ill. I know that Jesus is ‘the same yesterday, today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). I know that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12), the Good Shepherd and the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). And I know the Bible has a lot more to say about who He is, what He has done, and what He will do.
I know and trust Him as my saviour – I know in the depths of my heart that I am saved by Him. I know that Jesus ransomed me from my futile, sinful ways by His blood (1 Peter 1:18). I know that by His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for my sin, restoring my relationship with God. I know that by His resurrection, Jesus has secured for me a certain hope and a future with Him (Hebrews 6:13-20).
But do I know Him as a friend, a brother, or a constant confidant? To be honest, I’m not sure that I do. But what I am sure of is that I love Jesus, and I have a desire to develop a closer relationship with Him.
How can I know Him more? As I looked at what the Bible says about knowing Jesus, a couple of things stood out to me:
I can know Jesus more as I trust Him. In John 8:31-32 Jesus said, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’. As I trust in Jesus day by day, my confidence in Him grows. I experience and know more and more of His faithfulness, His love, and His desires for me.
I can know Jesus more as I listen to Him and obey His commands. 1 John 3:24 says that ‘whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the spirit whom he has given us’. As I listen to Jesus and follow His commands by faith, I learn that He is trustworthy, and that He desires the best for me; He instructs me in ways which are for my good, not my harm.
I can know Jesus more as I come to Him. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus says, ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden in light’. As I come to Him, I experience the rest and strength that He gives. I discover the intricacies of His character – His care and concern for others, His gentle and humble way, His desire to teach and instruct.
As I was reflecting on these things, God brought a song to mind – ‘Search me, know me’ by Kathryn Scott:
Search me, know me
Try me and see
Every worthless affection hidden in me
All I’m asking for is that you’d cleanse me Lord
Create in me a heart that’s clean
Conquer the power of secret shame
Come wash away the guilty stain of all my sin
Clothe me in robes of righteousness
Cover my nakedness with grace
All of my life before you now I humbly bring
The words of this song resonate with me. Sometimes when I think of my relationship with Jesus, I think only of my part in it. But knowing someone is not a one-sided interaction – for me to know Jesus better, I must be open and vulnerable with Him, as He has made himself known to me. I seek to know Jesus, and He seeks to know me.
Sometimes I feel like I’m missing something – that the way to know Jesus, and get to know Him more must be complicated. But what I’m missing is the simplicity of knowing Jesus. He simply asks me to come to Him, to strip back the noise and distractions in my life and focus on Him. When I do this, I see all the wonder of who He is.
Paul echoes this idea in Philippians 3:8, ‘Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ’. It is when all is stripped away – distractions, noise, busyness, anything that takes our attention from Him – that we can truly know Jesus.
Lord Jesus, help me to come to You in simplicity, as an empty vessel ready to be filled with the wonderful riches of knowing You.