What is it like to know Jesus? J.I. Packer gives four analogies to show the relationship of the knower to the known. In knowing Jesus, it is like a son knowing his father, a wife knowing his husband, a subject knowing his king, and a sheep knowing his shepherd. The knower looks up to Him, and the known takes responsibility for the welfare of the “knower”. It is not a relationship of a tyrant king to a slave but one with love and care.
Know Jesus, Know God
The Bible adds the further point that we know God in this way only through knowing Jesus Christ, who is Himself God manifests in the flesh. Knowing Jesus is not simply knowing an ordinary person. Knowing Him is knowing the God-man. Your very Creator, God, and LORD. Therefore, we should be clear in our minds as to what knowing Jesus means. To know Jesus is to know God. No one can have a true knowledge of God apart from knowing who Jesus is. This is an exclusive claim of the Scripture!
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father…”John 14:9
Knowing Jesus & His Disciples
J.I. Packer is right to note the difference between the first-century disciples and the believers. He writes, The disciples were ordinary Galileans with no special claims on the interest of Jesus. But Jesus, the rabbi who spoke with authority, the prophet who was more than a prophet, the master who evoked in them increasing awe and devotion till they could not but acknowledge him as their God, found them, called them to himself, took them into his confidence and enrolled them as his agents to declare to the world the kingdom of God. (Mk 3:14, Mt 16;16, Jn 6:68). He notes that “For His earthly disciples, knowing Jesus was directly comparable to knowing the great man…”
Knowing Jesus as the Son of the living God is not merely an acknowledgment that He is a good person, but God Himself (John 10:36, 18:6, 19:7).
Knowing Jesus & the Believers
For the present believers, His presence with the Christian is spiritual, not bodily. Building on the New Testament witness, the Christian learns from the start those facts about Jesus’ deity and atoning sacrifice that the original disciples only progressively realized over years. Jesus’ manner of speaking to us now is to apply to our consciences those of his statements recorded in the Gospels, along with the rest of the biblical testimony to himself, rather than speaking new revelation or “fresh words.” This is possible because Jesus has risen from the dead. He is now living, reigning, and interceding on our behalf. Because Christ was resurrected, anyone anywhere can enjoy the same kind of relationship with Him as the disciples had in the days of his flesh.
“The Jesus who walks through the gospel story walks with Christians now, and knowing him involves going with him, now as then.”J.I. Packer
Knowing Jesus and You
How about you? Do you know Jesus? If you know Jesus, you will hear His voice and you will follow Him John 10:27). You will follow Him as He is portrayed in His word. He is not a mere teacher but the LORD, the GREAT I AM – John 6:35 (Bread of life), 8:12 (the Light of the world), 10:9 (Door), John 10:11 (Good Shepherd), 11:25 (Resurrection and the Life), 14:6 (the Way, the Truth, and the Life), John 15:5 (the Vine).
When Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM,” He claims preexistence and the personal Name of Israel’s One True God YHWH. The Jews rightly understood that a claim to eternality was a claim to deity and sought to stone Him for blasphemy (Ex 3:14, John 8:24).
The Gospel calls you to come to Him, the Son of God. For only in Him, you can find rest. You must lay the burden of your sin to Him alone (Matthew 11:28-29). According to J.I. Packer, Jesus’ voice is “heard” when Jesus’ claim is acknowledged, his promise trusted, and His call answered. Also, “To know Jesus is to be saved by Jesus, here and hereafter, from sin, and guilt, and death.”
Your eternal destiny hangs in your relationship and knowledge of Jesus!
Questions for meditation:
- Can anyone be saved without knowing Jesus?
- How is it important for you to know Jesus?
Note: This is from our Youth Bible Study. Citations are from Packer, J. I. (1993). Knowing God. Intervarsity Press.