Does Jesus Know You?
We ask people, "Do you know Jesus?" Maybe we should also ask, "Does Jesus Know You?" We can be confident that we know Jesus and He knows us only if we read--and follow--God's Word, the Bible. So let's see if the Scriptures take the guesswork out of where we will spend eternity.
In "Sin and Repentance on the Cross," we discussed the two thieves crucified with Jesus. It seems that God is telling us, "You are either the one who accepts Jesus and repents or the one who does not." There is no other option, no lukewarm Roman culture blend of one and the other.
The story of these two thieves is our story. It is about our freedom to accept Jesus for who He is or to deny Him. Both free-will choices come with the responsibility to accept eternal consequences. This story represents our last opportunity to make the right choice. A choice that further separates us from the changing culture in which we live.
In some ways, the two thieves' choice is more straightforward than the one we face. They are side-by-side with Jesus. They know Him, and He knows them. So there is no wondering about the question, "Does Jesus know you?" for those two criminals. Spend even a few hours with others in a critical incident, and you will get to know them--very well. And crucifixion wasn't a quick death.
But it may feel different for us. We aren't literally on the cross with Jesus. Jesus may seem more distant, more removed from our daily life. He may even seem to many as more theoretical than real. It may leave some with lingering questions about their salvation. Because it's one thing to read,
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
But it's another thing to really believe one is saved, especially after reading one of the most troubling verses in the Bible. In the section dealing with true and false disciples, Jesus says:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven." Matthew 7:21
Here we find another conditional statement, as we discussed in "God's Love: Conditional or Unconditional." Specifically, Jesus tells us "IF" we believe in Him, we "WILL" enter the kingdom of heaven. Why? Because believing in Him is the will of God (ref. John 3:16).
This leads us to arguably the most critical question in the Bible. None other than Jesus is the one asking the question. It's simple. It's straight to the point. Jesus is asking His disciples past, present, and future a question of faith that determines your eternal destiny:
"...Who do you say I am?" Mark 8:29
That's it. Simon Peter answered correctly, "You are the Messiah." Mark 8:29 And then we see a fuller expression of Peter's answer in Matthew's account. "You are the Messiah, the Son of God." Matthew 16:16
Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven." Matthew 16:17
Did you ever worry about college exams? First, you wondered what questions you would be asked. Then, you feared that your answers would not be considered worthy of the grade you hoped for.
But what if your professor said, "There is only ONE short, simple question on the exam? I will tell you what that question is. Then, study it carefully because there is only ONE correct response. But do not fret; I will show you a perfect response to use as a model." Now, how much "test anxiety" are you feeling knowing both the question and the answer? If you are still stressed out, we need to talk. :-)
I believe that is what Jesus is doing with us. He is telling us His question to consider and even giving us the model answer provided by Simon Peter. Our "faith" is tested in our response because Jesus isn't here with us "face-to-face." The answer is revealed to us, "not by flesh and blood," but by Our Father in Heaven, the Bible's author.
Suppose you have taken the leap of faith into Christianity and still need to confirm that Jesus knows you and will welcome you into heaven. In that case, the above scriptures should eliminate your concerns. I pray they do as they do for me.
Christians like to ask people, "Do you know Jesus?" A follow-up question may be, "Does Jesus know you?" Just because we think we know Him doesn't mean He knows us. We aren't the two thieves crucified alongside Jesus at Calvary. Jesus makes His position clear in Matthew 7:21 that not all who say, "Lord, Lord," will enter heaven. Fortunately, He tells us precisely how to be sure that we know Him and that He knows us. The most important question and the model answer are found in Matthew 6:16-17. If you know God's high-stakes test question and the answer, you can sleep easy tonight knowing you have a place in heaven. Jesus guarantees it.