Love and Trouble - The Gospel According to John

He Knows My Name

By Kristen Hartman | December 18, 2019

Read below the story that Kristen Hartman shared in our Response Service on Sunday, December 15, 2019.

From the first to the last chapter of John there’s a thread woven through—it’s the staggering impact of being known, being seen and being called by name . . . by Jesus.

Andrew leaves John the Baptist to follow Jesus, and he brings along his brother. There’s no introduction recorded in chapter one, it simply says in verse 42, “Jesus looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas’ (which means Peter).”

Jesus saw Peter and knew his name.

In the very next scene, Jesus’ ability to know stuns skeptical Nathanael whose first words to Jesus are, “How do you know me?”

And it wasn’t just future apostles. Jesus knew the woman at the well. It doesn’t record Him saying her name aloud, but He so clearly knew her that she went running to tell anyone who would listen, “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did.” She was changed and emboldened by Jesus knowing her. So was the woman caught in adultery. Jesus saw her and knew her in a way no man ever had before. I can hardly fathom what it would be like to hear Jesus say, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.”

Yet that is what He says to me. He knows me.

Jesus calls me as clearly as He called Lazarus out of the tomb. And He knows my doubts and questions as surely as He knew the disciples’. I imagine in the same way they struggled in John 14 to understand how knowing Jesus was the way to know the Father that Jesus also sees my imperfect understanding. When He says, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip?”, I can almost hear Him saying to me, “After all these years, you still do not know me, Kristen?”

So I want to be like Mary Magdalene. I long to have my questions silenced simply by hearing my name on Jesus’ lips as Mary did outside the empty tomb.

Jesus and Mary on Easter morning become the picture for me of Jesus’ words in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”

Mary—like the woman at the well and the woman caught in adultery, like Nathanael and Philip—heard Jesus’ voice, knew her shepherd and followed Him. The sound of her name in His mouth that morning changed the direction of her life once again.

And John pulls the thread of Peter’s name on Jesus’ lips through to the end. Three times Jesus asks, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” And in an act of sheer grace, Jesus not only restores Peter, He also invites and commands Peter to follow Him.

This morning, may you and I recognize we are equally known and named and called by Jesus. We can hear His voice and know Him. His invitation and command extends to us, “you follow me!”