Does he know me when I have failed to know him (John 20:11–16)? When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus outside his tomb, she didn’t recognize him. But he knew her: “Jesus said to her, ‘Mary’” (v. 16). The instant Mary heard her name, she cried out, “Teacher!”

Why was Mary weeping outside Jesus’s tomb? Not because she knew about Jesus, but because she had a personal history with her Lord. It is possible to know all about doctrine and not know Jesus. The soul is in danger when intellectual learning outstrips intimate touch with him. Doctrine was nothing more to Mary than grass beneath her feet. Any Pharisee could have made a fool of her doctrinally, but none could ridicule away the fact that Jesus had cast seven demons out of her. And yet for Mary, Jesus’s blessings were nothing in comparison to himself.

Does he know me when I have stubbornly doubted (John 20:24–29)? Have I been doubting something about Jesus—an experience others testify to but which I haven’t had? The other disciples told Thomas that they’d seen Jesus, but Thomas doubted. “Unless I see . . . I will not believe” (v. 25). Thomas needed the personal touch of Jesus. When our Lord’s touch will come, or how it will come, we do not know. But when it does come, it’s indescribably precious. Jesus told Thomas, “Reach out your hand and put it into my side,” and Thomas replied, ‘My Lord and my God!’” (vv. 27–28).

Does he know me when I have selfishly denied him (John 21:15–17)? Peter had denied Jesus Christ three times, yet after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to Peter alone. He restored Peter in private, and then he restored him before the others. And Peter said, “Lord, you know that I love you” (v. 16).

Do I have a personal history with Jesus Christ? The one sign of discipleship is intimate connection with him, a knowledge of Jesus Christ that nothing can disturb.

Wisdom from Oswald

Defenders of the faith are inclined to be bitter until they learn to walk in the light of the Lord. When you have learned to walk in the light of the Lord, bitterness and contention are impossible. Biblical Psychology, 199 R