We’ve all either said it or heard it said… I know a guy. As if knowing someone adds credibility. In reality, knowing someone has a lot of different levels of knowledge and meaning.
First there is knowing someone like I know Russell Wilson. I know he was born the year I graduated High School. I know he was a third round draft pick for the Seahawks in 2012. I know he holds multiple records for his first three years in the NFL, including most wins and two Super Bowl appearances. I know him right?!
Then there is knowing someone like my wife knows John Travolta. I mean, she met him face to face. She talked to him, they shook hands and talked for some time while his plane was being refueled in Seattle. She knows him right?!
Too often, when you ask someone if they know Jesus, they are only thinking of these two levels of knowing someone. Either they know ABOUT Him like I know about Russell Wilson or they MET HIM ONCE like Katie met Travolta once. The fact is that neither of these levels of knowing someone count towards knowing Jesus.
You see, even the demons know Jesus. There are several accounts of demons recognizing and even claiming to know Jesus, throughout the Bible. Mathew 8 has one of those accounts. As Jesus and his disciples arrived on shore, two possessed men saw them and the demons spoke directly to Jesus. “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (v 29) Not only did they know Him, but they knew his title and his power. But their kind of knowing is not the knowing that brings salvation.
While I obviously don’t know Russell Wilson and Katie obviously doesn’t know John Travolta, nobody would deny that I know Katie. I know just about everything there is to know about her. I don’t only love her when it’s convenient or when she’s nice to me. I love her at all times, even when I don’t understand her. I love her above all else on earth. That is a level of knowing that trumps all others. That is the kind of knowing it takes for salvation through Jesus.
Just as the demons claimed to know Jesus, they still didn’t know Him in a way that allowed them to know the father. When Jesus said, “If you had known me, you would have known my Father also” (John 14:7), He was referring to a level of knowledge that equated to full reverent respect and love. If you love me, you love the father.
This is why when Paul says in Romans, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9) he is demonstrating the kind of knowing Jesus was referring to in John 14.
Simply claiming to know Jesus is not enough. You need to know Him on a personal level. You need to love and respect Him. You need to joyfully serve Him with the gifts He has given you.
Do you know Jesus at that level? If not, you can. The Holy Spirit can reveal to you the depth of grace He has to offer. If you do not yet know Him, pray to do so. You don’t need special words, you don’t even need to repeat the same words I’m going to type here, just use them as a guide in your own words.
Lord, I want to know you. I want to understand you and receive your Spirit. Fill me with the kind of love for others that only you can do. Forgive me of all my failures and help strengthen me against future temptations. Amen