Bible Study Opportunities
“If You Had Known Me”
By Jon W. Quinn
Jesus said to Thomas, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:7). The apostles probably thought they knew Jesus pretty well. They had been with Him about three years and had heard many lessons from Him. They had watched Him pray and seen His miracles. He had shared many things only with them. They knew Him better than anyone else did; they were all pretty sure of that.
But they did not know Him well enough, at least not yet. They soon would, but their transformation was not yet complete.
The rock, or foundation, of our faith is the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is the expression of God in the world. The Greeks had a term for “word” or “expression.” That word was “logos.” Jesus is referred to the “logos” of God; that He is God and was with God in the beginning and that all things were created through Him (John 1:1-3; 14). The Godhead finds expression through the Son. He has always been the Son, even before He became flesh. God did not send Him to become His Son; He sent His Son (Romans 8:3; 1 John 4:14). However, it is also true that Jesus became the Son of God in yet another sense at His conception by God's special creative act (Hebrews 10:4,5). But He had always been the Son of God even before that.
That is what Jesus meant when He was talking to Thomas. God expressed Himself to the world through His Son. If you see the Son, you see the expression of the Father. We come to know God only through Jesus. "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6).
It is not enough to know and accept some of the things about Jesus without accepting this rock of truth upon which Jesus built His church. Some accept that Jesus was a great moral teacher. Others that He was a prophet of God; perhaps the greatest prophet of all. Some will say He was a great philosopher. That is well and good, but not enough. Consider some of the claims of Jesus.
The Son of God
“But He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” (John 15:17,18). The Jews who opposed Jesus understood the import of referring to God as “My Father.” They also knew the difference between “My Father” and “Our Father.” Jesus was saying that God is His Father in a unique sense, including that He shared the Father's Divine nature. They also knew the difference between being “a son of God” and claiming to be “the Son of God.” (John 10:36). Jesus used this aspect of His relationship with the Father to claim equality with God; that is, that He is of the same, eternal nature.
The Source of Eternal Life
Jesus did not claim to be “a” source of eternal life but “the” source. We read earlier that He claimed to be “the way, the truth, the life” (John 14:6). Jesus claimed to be able to give His disciples water that would “become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. " (John 4:14). He also said that we must put our trust in Him to receive eternal life (John 6:40).
Jesus claimed to have existed previous to His coming to earth as a human being prior to His conception and birth. During that time, He dwelled in Heaven and shared with the Godhead the glory of God, even from before the beginning of time (John 17:5). He came to earth, leaving His place in the heavenly courts, to do the Father's will (John 6:38). The Scriptures describe this as being rich, but becoming poor, so we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus would use the term “I Am” to identify Himself, the same term by which God identified Himself as the eternally existing one out of the burning bush (John 8:23; 56-59).
Unique Knowledge of God
Nothing I know about God is unique to me. I have the same access to the knowledge of God as every other person does, and I can choose to learn it or ignore it, just like everyone else. God has no special insight for me that He does not have for you, if we want it. But Jesus had access to knowledge that you and I do not have. This is reasonable because of His pre-existence in heaven and His identity as God's Son, both of which we have already noticed. Jesus is the only one who completely knows the Father. Jesus said, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27). We can know more about God through the Son's revelation of Him (see also Hebrews 1:1,2; John 17:25,26). The world holds many false concepts of God. Any concept about God that contradicts the Son is a false concept that ought to be discarded.
Jesus claimed to have absolute authority. He appealed to no higher authority than Himself in His teaching on moral issues (Matthew 5:21,22; 7:28,29). Heeding His words determine where we will spend eternity (Matthew 7:24-29). He referred to Himself as the “Lord of the Sabbath” when some of His enemies accused Him of breaking the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). He spoke of the Father giving Him “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). In short, Jesus' authority is supreme. He is king. His word is law.
Forgiveness of Sins
Jesus claimed the power to forgive sins. This is appropriate for the reasons we have already seen. Jesus enemies correctly observed that it would be blasphemy to forgive sins because only God can do that (Mark 2:7). But it is not blasphemy for Jesus to do so for the reasons already given; He shares God's nature as God's Son. He is God and equal to God. So, Jesus forgives sins (Mark 2:1-12).
“If you had known Me...” Jesus once said to Thomas. If we know the truth about Jesus, we know all these things we have been discussing, and more. The claims Jesus made were lofty indeed, but the evidence that He spoke the truth is overwhelming. By all means, get to know Him!
Reprinted From the Bradley Banner Bradley Church of Christ Bradley, Illinois October 14, 2001