If you’ve ever been impressed with someone’s knowledge about people or wisdom about discerning motives; if you’ve known somebody that just seemed to get it, meaning they were so good at discerning that it was like they saw right through people; if you’ve ever known anybody like that, or anybody who could explain actions well, or anybody who seemed to be pretty good at looking at somebody and then predicting their next behavior; if you’ve ever been impressed with a person in history that you’ve read about, who seemed to be remarkably knowledgeable, or any living counselor you’ve ever been to who seemed to just break right through and help you get at the nub of the issue where you seemed so stuck, or any scholar that impressed you with what he wrote or whatever; if you’ve ever been impressed, then you should be impressed with Jesus — and the difference should be something like the difference between being impressed with first grade math and quantum mechanics.
I have been impressed with human beings. It’s not wrong to be impressed with what humans can do. Psalm 8:4–6 says,
What is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet.
We can go to the moon. Human beings are quite amazing creatures, and it’s right to know that and give God praise for it. But it’s not an accident that Psalm 8 begins with, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name” (verse 1), then celebrates man in the middle, and then comes back and ends, “O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name” (verse 9).
“There is always one person you must relate to who knows everything about you.”
That’s not an accident. That’s the message. So if you’ve ever been impressed — and I have — with some human beings who seem to have knowing, then let that impression just exponentially explode over Jesus Christ in worship, because the way Jesus Christ knows the world, what’s inside the mind of the Son of God by way of understanding human beings — all of them, all six billion — is infinitely worthy of your worship.
The glory of his omniscience, perhaps, will come to us more fully if we ponder its personal implications for us. It means there are no secrets in your life — none. You may have succeeded in hiding something all your life from everyone that you know. I suspect that’s true of every person. It certainly is for me. I know things about my life that nobody knows. I’m 63. I know a thousand things about my life that nobody else knows — Noël and I haven’t debriefed for twelve hours a day for the last forty years, you know.
If you have succeeded, as I have, in not telling everybody or anybody about everything, you haven’t succeeded with Jesus. He knows absolutely everything about you. There are no secrets. You are totally, completely known by Jesus. That’s amazing. The person who matters most, knows most. The person whose judgment is all-important, knows all. Let that sink in. You are totally known — totally. You’ve never had a feeling, you’ve never had a thought, you’ve never done a deed, there’s not been a twitch in your brain or in your heart or in your body, that he hasn’t known fully and completely — vastly more fully than you know.
Therefore, there is always one person you must relate to who knows everything about you. Think about it. There’s always one person you must relate to who knows everything about you. You may be able to look others right in the face and know that they don’t know certain things about you, and that will govern the relationship. It will affect the relationship. I’m looking you in the face and I’m relating to you as a pastor, and you don’t know thousands of things about me. That shapes the relationship. With Jesus, when I look him in the face, he knows absolutely everything, and that shapes the relationship. Everything.
There can be no mask. He simply and absolutely knows. This relationship is like no other relationship. It’s breathtaking. If you relate to him at all, you relate to him as utterly laid bare, utterly known. What an amazing relationship. There is one, and only one, who actually and totally knows you — only one. Your spouse’s knowledge of you, your best friend’s knowledge of you, is nothing compared to this.
Therefore, you always have someone to go to for help in knowing who you are. You know one of the great longings of the human soul is to understand ourselves. Who are we? What is our nature? What sort of being am I? What is my deepest thought and feeling? What are my true and deepest motives? What are the relationships, deep inside of me, between my knowing and my feeling and my willing and my doing? If you think you know yourself, you are really deluded. You are so complex. You are so multilayered.
“He knows absolutely everything about you. There are no secrets.”
Why do you think the psalmist in Psalm 19:12 prays, “Declare me innocent from hidden faults”? It’s because his brain is just so convoluted and so layered, that there are things tucked down in there. No matter how he claws with introspection at himself, he never knows himself completely. But we long to know ourselves.
But there is one who does, which means the only way to complete self-knowledge is to go to Jesus. And over time, in proportion to what is good for you, he will begin to lay you bare, and you will begin to gain some measure of self-understanding. And in heaven it will be complete, and you will be completely purified so you won’t be as devastated as you would be if you knew yourself completely here. He knows what we can handle, and it is glorious to know that we are known by one who can help us know ourselves.
It also implies that there is one person who, knowing everything about us, loves us. This may be the sweetest of all. Let me give you just a little snapshot into Peter. Do you think it mattered to Peter that Jesus knew him? Peter denied the Lord three times. This devastated Peter. He wept bitterly. I don’t think he ever quite recovered from this. And you can see Jesus trying to help him recover, just like Jesus is willing to help you recover from horrible things that you’ve done. They’re not easy, but he’s willing.
So it was after the resurrection. They were sitting by the fire in John 21:15–17, and Jesus looks at him and he says, “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter doesn’t just say yes. He says, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” And then Jesus, because he denied him three times, is going to give him a chance to affirm it three times. He asked him again, “Peter, do you love me?” And Peter says, the second time, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” The third time the Lord asked him, “Do you love me?” Peter ups the ante. He says, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”
Jesus knows your heart, whether there’s love there, faith there, or not. And so we move to this last implication of being loved by one who knows everything about us. He is willing to love you, knowing everything about you. Now, the reason I say he’s willing to love you — that may sound like an odd way to say — is because Jesus doesn’t love everybody the same way. The way he loves his sheep, and his disciples, and his children, is different from the way he loves those who reject him.
This is the way Jesus prays for his own people in John 17:9: “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” So that’s who he’s praying for. That’s a love that he doesn’t have for the world. You could call it intercessory love.
Jesus today is in heaven, interceding for you. He intercedes for you. He bought this intercession on the cross, and he applies his own blood, before the Father, interceding for you, to see to it that you will make it to the end — which is what he said he did for Peter, just as Peter denied him. “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again [not if, but when you have turned], strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32). I know you’re going down, but I know you’re coming up, because I’ve prayed for you that your going down would not be a staying down.
“Jesus is willing to love you, knowing everything about you.”
That’s the authority of the prayer of Jesus for his own. He did not pray that for Judas. If he had, Judas would be in heaven — and he isn’t. “To all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). If you receive him, you are a child of God, and he loves you as one of his brothers and sisters, and he knows everything about you — if you will have it.
If, in this moment of preaching, God would open your eyes and grant you to fly to Jesus for the renouncing of all your self-reliance, and all your sin, and all your relativistic efforts to be everything to everybody, and claim Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and Treasure of your life, there would be one who forever knows everything about you and loves you infinitely. And that’s good news to be known to the bottom of your being.
Isn’t it scary to you that all your relationships are contingent on whether people don’t know certain things about you? So you tremblingly walk through life, hiding yourself from one relationship to the other, because if you do or say certain things, it might ruin the relationship. But isn’t it sweet to know that if that happened to everybody in your life, it wouldn’t happen to Jesus? That’s a rock I live on.
If my wife unthinkably turned on me, and the church turned on me, and everybody said, “If we knew that, you never would have been the pastor of this church,” where would I go? I would go to him. Where would you go?
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