Do I Know You: Part I
The Rev. Jon Roberts
Calvary Episcopal Church
Indian Rocks Beach, FL
24 “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant[a] above his master; 25 it is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant[b] like his master. If they have called the master of the house Be-el′zebul, how much more will they malign those of his household. 26 “So have no fear of them; for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27 What I tell you in the dark, utter in the light; and what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.[c] 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground without your Father’s will. 30 But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36 and a man’s foes will be those of his own household. 37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38 and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Last Judgment by Viktor Vasnetsov, 1896-1904
Should we continue to live in sin in order that grace may abound?
This was the question asked by a college student to her priest. She wanted to know if God would receive any of us into heaven knowing that we continue to sin. As one who knows us best, what will Jesus testify on our behalf before the Judge? The priest replied with this story. Once upon a time there was a small town Prosecutor who called his first witness to the stand in a trial; a grandmotherly, elderly woman. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?" She responded, "Why, yes, I do know you Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a young boy. And frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a rising big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you never will amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you." The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?" She again replied, "Why, yes I do. I've known Mr. Smith since he was a youngster, too. I used to baby-sit him for his parents. And he, too, has been a real disappointment to me. He's lazy, bigoted, he has a drinking problem. The man can't build a normal relationship with anyone and his law practice is one of the shoddiest in the entire state. Yes, I know him."
At this point the judge rapped the courtroom to silence and called both counselors to the bench. In a very quiet voice, he said with menace, "If either of you asks her if she knows me, you'll be in jail for contempt!"
It’s good to know Mrs. Jones will not be our advocate before God. But knowing all the sinful things we have done, what could Jesus tell the Father in heaven that would possibly allow us entrance? Deep down, we were good? We attended Church and gave to it? We loved our family? Although important, sad to say, these do not get you into heaven. St. Paul said it best in his letter to the Romans, “Should we continue to live in sin in order that grace may abound.” There will be a time when Jesus will be asked, “Do you know him, or her?” A sinner, for sure; A liar, a cheat, lazy, bigoted, one who manipulates others. Baptized. Baptized into death.
God wants to know if you know you were lowered into heavy challenges for a reason. To choose moving towards Him or pushing Him away. Choosing to do what is good and righteous is one thing. Choosing to do them because you know it pleases the Father, who will one day be our Judge, is another. By our own baptism, this became the entrance right into heaven. Lowered down we were into the knowledge of the Cross. The knowledge and reception of the Cross creates a conversion in our soul to which we owe to the Father and the Son.
OK, so he lied, he cheated and thinks he is a big-shot, but on such and such day, he fell on his knees and cried saying “Lord forgive me;” And on another she spoke up for the minority and stood for what was right because she knew it was God speaking to her heart. For all the times you invoked God to be part of your life, for Jesus to take your hand, and to trust in the Holy Spirit to be your guide, your case is being built by grace. Not one of us deserve everlasting life. What good can we possibly contribute to the kingdom of heaven. There, before the throne seat of the Almighty, you will be judged; judged on whether you know God. Did you let God move upon your heart and stir you into action to love and help others? If so, your case is built on grace and God recognizes you.
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
Therefore, turn away from sin so that grace may abound and in order for you to be known by God.