The Gospel of John: To Know and To be Known.

“O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (John 17:25-26)

John the Apostle’s inspired account of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer concludes in vs. 25-26 of John 17. In these two verses, we observe the words know and known are repeatedly used. Let’s take time today to understand what Jesus was praying by using these words.

The word “know” (γινώσκω; ginosko) is the first word I ever learned from the Greek language. It means not only to have knowledge or to possess information but also to understand the information one possesses.

Jesus addressed God the Father as righteous. The word righteous (δίκαιος; dikaios) means proper and just. Jesus said in His prayer that God the Father was just, proper and righteous: not only in what He does but also in who He is. In this context, Jesus said that He understood or knew that Father was righteous, just and proper.

However, this is not how the world understands God. The fallen and rebellious world hates God and His righteousness. The world wants to do what it wants to do regardless of how unrighteous its behavior is in relationship to God. I John 2:15-16 says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.”

In fact, the world hates God so much that it does whatever it can to suppress the truth of God’s righteous existence. How foolish it is to try and suppress the existence of a righteous person who in large measure the world denies even exists. On the contrary, the passion for which the world hates God is an evidence of His existence. Why be opposed to someone who doesn’t exist? Unless, of course, He indeed does exist. Then the hatred makes sense.

Romans 1:18-21 says, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.”

When a person truly knows God, by grace alone, through faith alone in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone, that individual not only comes to a knowledge and understanding of God but also begins to love God. The believer’s love and understanding of God will evidence itself by an obedience to God’s commandments (John 14:15; I John 5:1-3). This love and affection for God is not just shown by them but it is also within them, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.

John Calvin writes, “It is an invaluable privilege of faith that we know that Christ was loved by the Father on our account, that we might be made partakers of the same love and might enjoy it forever.”

To know and love God is to understand that He first knew and loved us (I John 4:7-11). Therefore, our loving response to Him is because of His initiating love for us. Our love for the Righteous One is because of His love for a sinful one.

Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”

May God’s truth and grace reside here.

Soli de Gloria!

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