“I never knew you.”

Matthew 7:23/Matthew 25:12

I have found this to be a rather daunting statement for Jesus to say. Jesus, through whom all things were created, who is God who is omniscient, Jesus who knows the hearts of humanity and what is in their hearts. How is it that Jesus would say, “I never knew you”?

The first, Matthew 7:23, comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus speaks of those who prophesied, cast out demons and perform deeds of power in the name of Jesus. But Jesus declares that he will say to these, “Depart from me, for I never knew you.” But Jesus then it can also be said that Jesus says to some, who do the will of His Father, “Come to me, for I know you.”

The second, Matthew 25:12 comes in the context of the parable Jesus tells of the Ten Bridesmaids. To the five foolish ones, the bridegroom declares, “I do not know you.” They had not adequately prepared for the coming of the bridegroom and thus they were not known by him. But what was not spoken in the parable can be inferred as the bridegroom welcomes the five wise bridesmaids, “Welcome! Come to me, for I know you!” And they are received by the bridegroom. 

In that beautiful passage from Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus extends the invitation, “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

“Come to me, and be known by me.”

“Come to me, and know yourself.”

There are things that it appears the Lord chooses to not know. It is true that in knowing God I know myself and in knowing myself I know God. So When Jesus says, “I never knew you,” I wonder if he is saying that when I do not know myself, Jesus does not know that part of me that does not know myself. 

When I turn to the Lord, when I accept Jesus’ invitation, “Come to me” it appears that there is a profound knowing that begins. It is the intimate knowing between the Creator and the creation made in the image of the Creator. I begin to know who I am and thus I begin to know who God is, who is God-with-me. 

“Come to me! I know you!

I am grateful to be known.

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