To Know And Be Known
I’ve been looking at the relationship between the Good Shepherd (Jesus) and His sheep (us) in the last couple of posts. I still have a couple of thoughts to share on the subject before I move on.
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
(John 10:27 NKJV)
My sheep hear My voice…..and they follow Me
Some translations say, “My sheep listen to My voice”. Whichever it is, it takes a level of familiarity to recognize somebody’s voice and then to trust that person enough to actually listen to them (and follow them as a result). In fact, verse 5 of this same chapter makes this very clear: “Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
The more you relate with a person, the more you get to know their voice. Have you ever heard this statement: “I would recognize his/her voice in my sleep”? That is a statement we can make about people we’ve related with in some way that enabled us to hear them speak over and over again.
Now, the first level of familiarity gives us the recognition of the voice. This doesn’t necessarily require a deep relationship. In fact, just by hearing a person speak on a podcast over and over again, you can get to know their voice. It doesn’t mean you know anything about their life or their person. A lot of us have watched some actors in several different movies and can now recognize their voices but we don’t really know them (reading gossip about them doesn’t really make us get to know them).
It’s okay to start off in our relationship with Christ at this level where we get to recognize His voice from spending time in His written Word (the Bible) and we can speak about Him from what we’ve read and heard from others, but we can’t say we really have a close relationship with Him yet. However, we should aspire to develop the relationship to where we know Him enough to trust Him to lead us…..to be lord over our lives indeed.
This level of familiarity comes by spending time both in His Word and in conversation with Him – speaking to Him and listening to Him speak to us. It develops as we have experiences with Him; doing things by faith in what He said and gaining confidence in Him; walking with Him through the ups and downs of life.
One would have thought that Apostle Paul would have known Christ completely but here is what he wrote:
Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish (refuse, dregs), in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One),….
[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], ….
(Philippians 3:8, 10 AMPC)
If Paul could make it his ambition to know Jesus better and deeper, I think it would be wise to make it our ambition, too.
Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skilful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches; But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.
(Jeremiah 9:23-24 AMPC)
… and I know them
One of the scariest things I’ve read in the Bible is found in these verses –
“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
(Matthew 7:21-23 NLT)
These verses relate closely with this one from Paul –
But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
(2 Timothy 2:19 ESV)
When I think about these scriptures, it’s clear to me that Jesus knows those who just recognize His voice but aren’t following Him. In other words, it’s following Him that is important to Him. When we follow Him, we embrace His ways and obey His commands. We don’t pick and choose which verses of the Bible we will obey and then disobey some. He is either Lord of our lives or He is not Lord; it can’t be both.
Dear Christian, let’s make up our minds to know Christ and to be known by Him.