Video presentation available here
There does exist a distinction between knowing about God and knowing God. The former involves knowing about God through reading books, attending lectures, hearing other people talk about God, etc. The latter, however, involves an intimate knowledge of God that goes beyond particular elements of information. To know God in this way entails walking with Him closely and personally.
Some context: In this passage, Jesus focuses on the concept of identity and deriving relationships. Primarily, Jesus Christ explicitly reveals His divine nature as the “good shepherd.” As the Savior, He loves, protects, and cares for those who are His. Jesus also describes how His nature intimately affects His people. Because Jesus is the “good shepherd,” He knows His people on an incomparably intimate level. The Lord is keenly aware of His people’s desires, their anxieties, their joy, their weaknesses, etc. In the last section of the verse, Jesus establishes the relationship between His people and Him:
“and am known by My own.”
As I prepared this message, I took some time to reflect on the close relationships that I have developed either with relatives, friends, or colleagues. Those personal relationships do not stem from reading about the person or hearing what other people have said about them. Those intimate relationships are the result of personal experiences such as engaging in conversations, partaking in leisure activities, or even being present during times of need. I know those people, and they know me because we have walked through life together.
I believe that this is the form of knowing that Jesus is referring to when He says “and am known by My own.” The people who belong to Jesus Christ know Him in an intimate and personal manner. Though it is a necessity for a believer to read the Bible, to lend an ear to others as they share their testimony, this knowledge of God does not stem from engaging in these exercises. The intimate relationship that Jesus is referring to comes from experiencing God’s character on a personal level. As we live with Him from day to day, we get to experience His love and goodness, His grace and mercy, as well as His provision. I have walked with Him for 25 years, and I wish to testify that not a day has gone by that God was not good to me.
One the one hand, If you have already been walking with God, I want to invite you to consider for a few minutes the relationship that you have Him. How would you describe Him? How has God revealed Himself in your life at home? In your professional affairs? In what ways have you experienced the “good shepherd”?
On the other hand, if you have not made peace with the Lord, can I invite you to allow Him into your heart? He desires to be the “good shepherd” in your life. He demonstrated His mercy by dying on the forgiveness of your sins. Through His grace, He wants you to partake in His love, goodness, and care. And when this life on earth ends, He promises to share a blessed eternity with you. As you read these words, I pray that God would lead you to consider pursuing a relationship with Him as your Lord and Savior.
May God Bless You,