Don't You Know Me?
There's this moment in the Gospel of John where Jesus is trying to explain to his disciples that he's going to have to leave them.
In an effort to provide his confused and fearful followers some comfort Jesus tells them that they don't have to worry---they have all the assurance they need because of their relationship with him:
If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”Then Philip speaks up, demanding a clearer answer: He says to Jesus: “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
To which Jesus incredulously replies:
“Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?"I bet Philip must have felt that answer hit him right in the gut. It's tough enough to read it, much less imagine hearing it come straight from Jesus' own lips. "I've been with you all this time, and you still don't know me?"
It occurs to me that far too many of us who claim to be followers of Jesus, don't really know Jesus at all. And our actions show it.
We think we know Jesus because we've most likely constructed images of Jesus that conform to our own desires and preferences.
We think Jesus would vote just like us.
We think Jesus would include the people we like, and exclude the people we don't.
We think that Jesus was just offering a suggestion when he told his followers to care for the "least of these."
We think that Jesus really didn't mean that in order to find our true life, we would need to let go of our old, comfortable, self-centered life.
As I read Jesus reply, I can't help but replace Philip's name with my own. "Don't you know me, Leon, even after I have been among you such a long time?"
It makes it so much personal and convicting to place myself in Philip's shoes.
It forces me to ask if I am creating a Jesus, who is easy to follow, easy to emulate. If so, then chances are I've simply created an image of Jesus that looks an awful lot like me, and that's getting me nowhere fast.
I would encourage you to do the same thing today. Look deep inside yourself and try to answer Jesus' question truthfully and openly. Put your name in the question. What is your response?
May you find the strength to reimagine Jesus as he truly is, and follow him no matter the cost. May you discover a renewed sense of faith and commitment as you seek to become more and more like Jesus each and every day.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.