Daily Readings & Thought for July 6th. “I NEVER KNEW YOU”
Many of the things Jesus said are very challenging, but few offer a greater challenge than the words we read today about what will be said to some “on that day” [Matt.7 v.22], i.e. the day of judgement. He speaks of those who will come before him, but to some of them he will say, “Depart from me; I never knew you” [v.23] . These will respond “… Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name … and do many mighty works in your name?”
In referring to those who prophecy, we should not think of them as those who have some gift to foretell the future. The work of those serving God, as we see with many of those called prophets in the Old Testament, is to proclaim God’s word. Very often these were words of warning as well as encouragement. Any who speak to others to bring the message of Christ and God to them quoting God’s words from the Bible, are, in this sense, prophets. All who do this take a great responsibility on themselves. James, in his epistle makes the point, “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” [Ch. 3 v.1]
Those who Jesus tells to depart are described as “workers of lawlessness” So what is such a worker?
Remember what we read as we completed Revelation a few days ago? We saw in the last chapter a list of those who are “outside” of God’s “city”. This was because their names were not found in “the book of life” [20 v.12],
Earlier in Revelation [3 v.5] we read of names being blotted out and others retained in God’s book of life. What causes them to be excluded? Those “outside” are not just those who are really bad in today’s estimation of badness but includes “everyone who loves and practices falsehood” [22 v.15]
Those he tells to “depart” thought they knew Jesus – but Jesus says he never “knew” them. What is it to “know” someone? In the Bible’s way of expressing it – it means to have a genuine relationship with them.
Human relationships are breaking down today, all too many men and women are getting married before they “know” each other and have fully ‘tuned in’ to each other’s thinking and motivations. We must make sure we have a really strong and committed relationship to Christ – so that he will welcome us into his Kingdom.