Jesus answered, “Don’t you know me Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?” John 14:9
Reading these words of Scripture just now I felt an ache in my heart. Jesus has walked with these men for three years. He’s been as open as a person can possibly be and shared everything with them. Now he is nearing the end of his time with them and there is an added urgency. Soon he won’t be there in the flesh to direct and guide them.
The urgency of Jesus’ words to Philip has always been apparent to me but this morning I read something a little different. I read a little sadness. We all want to be known, to be understood by those closest to us. Hear it that way, “Don’t you know me Philip?” Now put your dear friend’s name in there. “Don’t you know me ________?”
Some of the most frustrating moments in my life have come from being misunderstood. When efforts to help or bless are misread or when a need is ignored, it is so hard. We are called to know Jesus, in his triumph but also in his suffering. I’m not a military person nor do I have an occupation that causes me to risk my physical life. I do not know Jesus’ suffering in this way, this sense of being unknown to those closest to me. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and grandmother and I do know this kind of suffering. To look in the face of a dearly loved one and no that they do not understand you or truly know you is awful.
Worse is to know that they don’t care to know you. It seems to me that in asking the questions he asked, Philip did want to know more about Jesus but maybe not. Perhaps as the question is asked in regard to knowing the Father, Jesus heard in Philip’s voice that he [Jesus] was just the means to an end. That is pure speculation. I don’t know Philip’s motivation or Jesus’ understanding of it. All I know is that not being known is sad, very sad.
I think of the many young people who have committed heinous acts of violence against their peers. How many have then turned their weapons on themselves? When we look closer we most often see wounded outcasts. Was all of that horrific, violent, murderous behavior a way to ask, “Don’t you know me?”
To know anyone else we must first know ourselves and to know ourselves best is to see through Jesus’ eyes. The closer we are to him, to our heavenly Father, the better we can know who we are. We learn that by knowing whose we are. From there we can better know the people around us.
Pray to be able to answer the question with great authority. When Jesus asks you, “Don’t you know me_____?” Be prepared to answer yes and then ask to know him more.