‘As Unknown’, 2 Cor. 6. 9
John Mitchell, Cardiff
The New Testament contains quite a number of incidents connected with people who are unknown to us by name; yet we feel that we know them well without actually knowing their names.
(1) Such were the wise men from the east, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews ? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him", Matt. 2. 1-2. They truly were wise men, for they came to worship
Him, offering Him the best gifts. We note that they did not speak of Christ as "born to be King", but rather "born King", stressing not what He would ultimately become, but what He already was in His own right. These wise men became wiser still upon leaving Jerusalem for Bethlehem, on account of the ancient instructions of the prophet Micah. One can rely upon God's Word ! They came from the east, the place of the sunrising, and followed His star. Christ is the Sun of righteous ness who arises with healing in His wings, Mai. 4. 2, and He is the Star that should come forth out of Jacob, Num. 24. 17, as well as the bright and morning Star, Rev. 22. 16. These wise men, unknown to us by name, impress us with their determination to see Christ and to express their appreciation of Him.
(2) We now move on to a very different scene in Matthew 26. 18, where the Lord said, "Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand ; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples". Not many houses would give a welcome to the Lord, but here is a man, unknown to us but known to Christ, 2 Cor. 6. 9, who would accommodate Him and His disciples. The Lord knew where He could obtain an ass on which to ride; He knew of a home in Bethany where He was always sure of a welcome. He now needs a room in which to observe the passover, and He knew just the man who would provide it. Surely there are silent messages for us here —we are unknown to the great men of this world, but we should far rather be known to Christ than to be acquainted with the leaders of all the nations of the world. No doubt we would all like to think that all we possess is at His disposal when He needs it. It is common for us all to think of God when we have a need, but very few seem to consider that, in a certain sense, God has needs too ! Does He think of us when such a need arises? It may be giving, or visitation, or preaching, or a personal word. Only one thing prevents His asking us—our unwillingness; He certainly will not ask if the answer is sure to be "No".
(3) Another example occurs in Matthew 21. 1-3: "then sent Jesus two disciples, saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them". It was an ass that carried the King of kings in triumph into Jerusalem. Who owned the animal? We are not told—just another case of someone being delighted to serve the Master. Does our loyalty to the Lord mean that all that we are and have are at His disposal if He so requires it?
(4) One more example will conclude our consideration of "as unknown". Matthew 13. 56 says, "And his sisters, are they not all with us?". The paragraph goes on to speak of their being offended in Him, and this suggests that He was somewhat of an embarrassment to them. Do we rejoice to be associated with Him even to the extent of bearing His reproach, or do we treat Him as a subject to be hidden ? It may be, like their brother James, they believed after His resurrection. We do well to remember that many a mighty soldier of Christ began as Hisopponent. It is not a question of being known by name in the world, but the all-important issue is, Am I known by Him, and do I esteem Him of more value than anything that this poor world affords ? If I do, I will carry out not only His commands but also His desires, and if it be His will, I will be content to be an "unknown" who knows Someone well worth knowing. Like Peter, may we say, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee", John 21. 17.