“Dad, what time is it?” my son asked from the back seat. “It’s 5:30.” I knew exactly what he’d say next. “No, it’s 5:28!” I watched his face light up. Gotcha! his beaming smile said. I felt delight too—the kind that comes from knowing your child the way only a parent can.
Like any attentive parent, I know my children. I know how they’ll respond when I wake them up. I know what they’ll want in their lunches. I know countless interests, desires, and preferences.
But for all that, I’ll never know them perfectly, inside and out, the way our Lord knows us.
We catch a glimpse of the kind of intimate knowledge Jesus has of His people in John 1. As Nathanael, who Philip had urged to meet Jesus, moved toward Him, Jesus pronounced, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit” (v. 47). Startled, Nathanael responded, “How do you know me?” Somewhat mysteriously, Jesus replied that He’d seen him under the fig tree (v. 48).
We may not know why Jesus chose to share this particular detail, but it seems Nathaniel did! Overwhelmed, he responded, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God” (v. 49).
Jesus knows each of us like this: intimately, completely, and perfectly—the way we long to be known. And He accepts us completely—inviting us to be, not only His followers, but His beloved friends (John 15:15).
Jesus, Thank You for knowing me fully, inside and out, and for loving, forgiving, and accepting me just the way I am. Thank You for inviting me into the adventure of following You.
The twelve apostles (disciples) are named in Matthew 10:2–4, Mark 3:16–19, and Luke 6:14–16 (known as the Synoptic Gospels because they are similar in content and order), but not in John’s gospel. Instead, John tells of how five of Jesus’s disciples (only four are named: Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathanael), first met Him (John 1:35–51). Because Nathanael is not listed as one of the twelve in the Synoptics, this has raised the question about his identity. Bible scholars say that Nathanael is the same person as Bartholomew. Two reasons are given. First, there’s no mention of Nathanael in the Synoptic Gospels and no mention of Bartholomew in John’s gospel. Second, since Philip and Bartholomew are always listed together, and Philip is listed with Nathanael in John 1:43–45, scholars conclude that Bartholomew and Nathanael are the same person.