In my line of work relationships and connections are very important. Literally every day I am asked multiple times if I know this person or that person. Most of the people in our lives are people we have become acquainted with through someone else. We have a friend who introduces us to a friend of theirs and suddenly we have a whole new set of connections to new people.
On the other hand, we know of people that we don’t really know. These are people who may be in our industry or live in our town, but we haven’t met them. We may know who they are and what they do but we don’t know them.
Today I was reading in the New Testament, John chapter 17. I have been thinking about Jesus’ great intercessory prayer this week, mostly about verse 12 when he says, “While I was in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost…” I have been giving a lot of thought to “none of them is lost” and what that means and how it applies to me.
As I began reading chapter 17 I stopped at a note I had written beside verse three, which says, “And this is life eternal that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent.” The note sent me to Isaiah 1:3 and another handwritten note. In chapter 1 Isaiah lays out the roots of the Israelites’ problems and then provides a solution. Verse three says, “The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his mater’s crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” My note simply said “Saber o Conocer?”
The Spanish language has two words for the English word “know” and they have completely different definitions. Saber is “to know” as in to have knowledge of; but conocer is “to know” as in to be acquainted with, two totally different ways of knowing.
In verse three Isaiah was saying that Israel did not have an intimate acquaintance with their God. Based on the histories of Israel we have, there is no question they were full of knowledge about Him but that is not the same as being intimately aware of Him. A child may “know” her mother loves her but that is not always accompanied with “feeling” her love. To a child, or to anyone, feeling loved is more important, more real than knowing logically that he or she is loved.
My wife Susan has loved me for a very long time. She hasn’t just gained knowledge of me over time but she has grown to understand, appreciate, value, empathize, sympathize and identify with me. She can not only finish my sentences, but most of the time she knows what is bothering me before I recognize it. This identifying with me isn’t just about the time we have spent together; it is the love and interest she has for me. She watches out for me, is concerned for me, celebrates my successes and encourages me, because she succeeds when I succeed and she bleeds when I bleed. We are one by choice and by effort.
Jesus prayed that we might become one with him and His father, “That they may be as one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou has sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one;
I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” (verses 21-23)
As I go back and read John 17:3 I know that I must conocer my God and His son. I can’t rely on my knowledge of the things He has said and done, I must be intimately familiar with Him. I have to understand, appreciate, value, empathize, sympathize and identify with my Heavenly Father and this can only be done with consistent love and effort over time.