“I know my sheep…”
Recently I was a guest at a banquet where about 60 people gathered for fine food and to learn about the Lord’s work in another country. As I stood around before the meal chatting with people a lady came up to me, used my name, and spoke to me as though I should have known her. I was unable to remember anything about her.
Have you ever had an experience like that? It can be embarrassing. For several days following the event I tried and tried to recall who the individual was. I still do not know who greeted me that night.
When we as Gentiles talk about “knowing” someone we usually mean we know their name, possibly where they live, what they do for a living, and maybe we know their spouse’s name. In other words, we know some basic facts about them. However, when a Jew of Jesus’ time spoke about “knowing” someone they meant much more. When they “knew” someone they meant that they had a relationship with the person.
So when Jesus said that He knows His sheep, He is saying that He is involved in their lives, that He works with them on a daily basis. Jesus meant that there is interaction between Himself and the sheep. Obviously this is a dynamic, living reality, and not merely head knowledge.
For those who suffer and confess Christ, this is of great importance. We follow Jesus, we love Jesus, we worship Jesus, and much more. Our connection to Jesus is therefore a living relationship. But what is of greater encouragement to us is that Jesus “knows” us.
When Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians He referred to their relationship to God in the following way, “But now that you know God-or rather are known by God…”. So the apostle clearly indicated that God knowing us is vastly more important than our knowing God.
I recall a young man describing how he came home from a church service one day and excitedly declared to his aged, Scottish Presbyterian grandmother, “Grandma I know the Lord!” The wise old lady who knew her Bible so well responded, “Laddie I am not as concerned about you knowing the Lord as I am that the Lord knows you.”
If you are one of Jesus’ sheep He knows you, He interacts with you, He leads you along in life, He gives you grace for the day, He pays close attention to all the details of you life and cares for you every day, every hour.
To quote Horatius Bonar (180 8-1889):
My love is ofttimes low, My joy still ebbs and flows,
But peace with Him remains the same, No change my Savior knows.
I change, He changes not; The Christ can never die;
His love, not mine, the resting-place, His truth, not mine, the tie.
May you find encouragement today in the knowledge that Jesus “knows” you.