“I never knew you”
Many of the things Jesus said are very challenging, but few are more so than the words we read today about what will be said to some “on that day” (Matthew 7:22), i.e., the day of judgement. Jesus speaks of those who will come before him, but to some of them he will say,
“Depart from me; I never knew you” (verse 23).
These will be among the
“many (who) will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name … and do many mighty works in your name?”
First, “works” does not necessarily mean, perform miracles, and his reference to those who prophecy, we should not think of him as meaning 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, and 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 are, in this sense, prophets. Such 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” (3:1).
Those who Jesus tells to depart are described as “workers of lawlessness”. So what is such a worker? We noticed as we completed reading Revelation last week how it lists those who are “outside” excluded from a place in God’s “city” because their names were not found in “the book of life” (20:12). Earlier in Revelation (3:5) 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 those who do evil things and also “everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (22:15).
Those told to “depart” thought they had a relationship with Jesus, that they “knew” him – but Jesus “never knew” them. What is it to “know” someone? It is to have a real relationship with them. Many human relationships are not lasting today, all too many are getting married before they “know” each other, have fully explored each other’s minds and developed a whole hearted rapport.
We must make sure we have developed a really strong and committed relationship to and with Christ – only then will we be able to “conquer” our human nature and become more and more like our Saviour. Let us remember what we read last week in Revelation 21:7
“The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son” – then “on that day” he will declare “I … knew you”.
Find also to read for today:
- Matthew 7:1-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary on Neighbor Love Continued 7: Matthew 7:1-5 Judgment and neighbor love
- Matthew 7:12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Summary on the Torah’s Fulfillment
- Matthew 7:13-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #1 The Narrow Gate and the way to destruction
- Matthew 7:15-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #2 False prophets and fruitage
- Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #3 Matthew 7:21-23 The ones Jesus never knew
- Matthew 7:13-27 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #4 Matthew 7:24-27 – Conclusion
- Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction