Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me?
~ John 14:9
Knowledge of Christ
There seems to be pain in the Master’s question. This disciple had been with Him for three years. He had seen His beautiful and gentle life. He had witnessed His works of power. Surely by this time, after such long and close intimacy, the disciple ought to have known Jesus. Yet Jesus tells him here that he did not really know Him.
We get this lesson — that it is possible to be with Christ a long time, and to know very much about Him, without ‘knowing’ Him in the true sense of the word. Philip knew Jesus as a man, as a worker of miracles, as having a very beautiful character; but he seems never to have gone below the surface in understanding Him. He did not know Him as the revealer of the Father. He never saw divine glory in the radiance that streamed from that blessed life. And not to know Christ in this aspect, to know Him only as a man, is not to know Him at all. To leave out the divine in our thought of Christ is not to have any Christ at all.
We may be quite familiar with the facts of our Lord’s life, from His birth in Bethlehem to His ascension from Olivet, and yet may not know anything of Him as a personal Saviour, saving us from our sins, or as a Helper in our times of need. Such knowledge will do us no good unless it leads us to the true knowledge of Christ as Saviour, Lord, and Friend.
There is something very touching in the thought that for so long the Son of God walked with His disciples, all the glory of divinity dwelling in His humanity, and that they did not recognize Him. But is it any better with us? The divine love is close to us perpetually, flowing all about us, with all its infinite tenderness, but how unconscious we are of it! May our prayer be, “Lord, make thyself known to us!”