The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation provide a stirring vision of the Lord Jesus Christ. He walks among His churches, His bride, and He addresses them directly. And though their contexts are different, though their struggles are unique, though their situations are particular, there is a common refrain that echoes through Jesus’ communication:
Those two words are incredibly comforting. Jesus knows about the labor and endurance of the church at Ephesus, how they tested the teaching in front of them to make sure it was truly from God. He knows about the financial struggles of the church at Smyrna, how they are about to experience the kind of persecution that might go unnoticed throughout the empire. He knows about the martyr named Antipas at Pergamum though the rest of history has long forgotten his name. He knows about how the works of righteousness of the church of Thyatira have eclipsed those works they did at the beginning of their faith. He knows of the remnant of the passionate faithful at Sardis, how they among their fellowship retain their love for Him. He knows about the limited strength of His people in Philadelphia, how despite their weakness, they have not denied Him.
That is indeed comforting, for Jesus still knows. He knows about your inner battle and your choice to turn off the computer rather than keep clicking. Jesus knows how many diapers you changed yesterday and how you fought to keep your temper under control. Jesus knows how demanding your boss is and the struggle it is to maintain an attitude of respect when you’re being mistreated. Jesus knows your secret worry about the mortgage payment, how you are actively fighting to trust Him during the layoffs at work. Jesus knows. Though no one else does, Jesus knows.
It’s comforting to know that someone notices. Someone understands. Someone sees and someone recognizes. I don’t know about you, but the knowledge of Jesus fills my heart and lifts my soul; it helps me to know that Jesus knows.
It helps me… and it frightens me.
Because if Jesus knows, then Jesus knows.
He knows about the infiltration of the seemingly insignificant sins into the life of the church at Pergamum. He knows that although everyone thinks the church of Sardis is alive it’s really dead. He knows the casual kind of faith and following that characterizes the church of Laodicea. Jesus knows. Though no one else does, Jesus knows. Nothing in all creation is hidden from the sight of Him to Whom we must give an account.
So what do we do with this overwhelming, all-encompassing, knowledge of Jesus?
In either case, whether the knowledge of Jesus is comforting or terrifying to you, you cannot and should not deny it. And in either case, when we come to Jesus and acknowledge our insecurities, our doubt, our anxiety, and yes, our sin – we are not telling Him anything He doesn’t already know. Perhaps that is, in part, what we do with the truth of Jesus’ knowledge:
We allow it to move us closer to Him. We pray and trust. We turn and repent. And the wonderful news is that when we come to Jesus, telling Him what He already knows, we will not find one shaking His head in disapproval but rather One who is very glad that we are finally willing to say the thing that He has known all along.
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