Summary: Many profess to know Jesus, but does he know them?
Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV)
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Last week as we looked at Philippians 3, the question before us was, “Do you know Jesus?” And if the truth be told, we can profess to know someone but in fact we only know about that person. Even online you may have people know about Shield of Faith and they may know about Pastor Juan, but information alone does not affirm a personal relationship.
So it is with Jesus… many both in the church and outside the church, make a claim and profess to know Jesus, but I am afraid that in all actuality they only know ABOUT Jesus and are not in a personal relationship with Him.
The question as to whether or not someone knows about you or whether they know you on a personal level can only be answered by you. So we have it with Jesus, we can say that we know Him, but if he says he doesn’t know us……. we have a problem……
This is an eschatological (end times) passage, and it shows us that just because someone professes to know Jesus and professes to do works in His name, that is not a qualifier that they are in relationship with Him.
There are 3 basic thoughts that I pondered as I meditated over the text…
First, the text is a little concerning…. Its concerning because Jesus shows us that the manifestation or exhibition of works alone is not evidence of salvation.
We see that those who call Jesus Christ Lord will be divided into two groups. The first group will enter Heaven and the other group will not. We see this even in the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13, where Jesus say let them grow together and we’ll separate them at the end. However, the concerning part is that Jesus says in verse 21 that those who will enter the Kingdom of Heaven are the ones “who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Yet in verse 22 there is a profession of those who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven followed by a pronouncement of their works.
Matthew7:22 - Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
Then in verse 23 we see Jesus says “I never knew you; depart from Me…” Each of the questions in verse 22 are written in the affirmative, they are rhetorical questions, meaning Jesus knows the answer and the answer to each is YES. YES they did prophesy (or preach) in Jesus’ name, YES they did cast our demons in Jesus’ name, YES they did work miracles in Jesus’ name. It’s concerning because Jesus then says, “I never knew you…”
What does Jesus mean………. What is he talking about……
Well, as we learned last week there is a knowing which is informational and there is a knowing which is experimental or the result of relationship. Jesus as God is omniscience (meaning all knowing). He knows ALL about them, but they were not in relationship with Him. This is concerning because they professed to belong to Jesus, they do things that followers of Jesus do. They look holy, act Holy, they do Holy stuff ….. BUT …. Jesus says I never knew you….
So this tells us that we can make a profession in Jesus Christ, do works in/through the church and not belong to Him.
Matthew 7:23 Jesus says, “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!”
Newman & Stine in their commentary called “A handbook on the Gospel of Matthew.” Said this:
I will declare translates a Greek verb which has a wide variety of meanings; quite frequently it is translated “confess.” Here the verb has its root meaning of “to speak openly and freely.” Most translations prefer a somewhat strong affirmation: “I will pass judgment” (German Common Language), “I shall tell them to their faces” (New Jerusalem Bible), “I will tell them straight” (Barclay), and “I shall tell them plainly” (Phillips Bible). Many translators find that the Phillips rendering is a helpful model. They have “I will tell them openly (or, directly).”
Several scholars note that the words I never knew you constitute a formula used by Jewish rabbis when pronouncing a ban against someone; it means “I have nothing to do with you” or “You mean nothing to me.” Barclay translates “You are complete strangers to me!” “I have nothing to do with you” or “You were not my people (or, my followers)” are the most common renderings.