I have a terrible memory. Sometimes I really think I have super-early-onset Alzheimer’s because I ACTUALLY can’t remember anything. Ever.
Don’t ask me about my last birthday or last vacation or what I had for breakfast today because I can’t remember. Sometimes I even forget the point of what I’m trying to communicate WHILE I’m talking. Yes, it really is that bad.
So you can imagine the panic that sets in when people who knew me as a little baby ask me if I recognize them. You can imagine my panic when I don’t recognize which instrument (on my ginormous table of a hundred shiny, metal surgical instruments that all look the same) the surgeon wants me to hand him. You can imagine my panic when I can’t recognize where exactly I am in the giant city of Houston as I’m driving along from one destination to the next and Google Maps decides to quit on me.
Recognizing things/people/my surroundings isn’t always the easiest for me. According to the dictionary, to “recognize” is to “identify someone or something from having encountered them before.”
When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well. | Mark 6:53-56
My thoughts while reading this passage immediately jumped to this: Would I be so quick to recognize Him? Yeah, I’ve “encountered” Jesus before. But somehow I don’t think this is a simple, “remember when…” reference. These people didn’t just “remember when that Man fed 5,000 of us with barely nothing.” These people didn’t just “remember when that Man raised a dead girl back to life.” These people didn’t just “remember when that Man freed that one guy from a legion of demons.” It was more than having heard of Him before. It was more than having encountered Him before.
That’s what it was about. The Greek word used in verse 54 is epiginōskō. Strong’s concordance tells us the following about this word: “to know upon some mark, that is, recognize; by implication to become fully acquainted with, to acknowledge.” That’s a bit meatier than the English definition, isn’t it?
So the question now becomes this:
Am I fully acquainted with Jesus?
In order to immediately recognize Him – in order to epiginōskō Him – I would have to be so familiar with who He is, in every aspect. I would have to be familiar with His attributes, with His authority, with His power, with His relationship with the Father, with His relationship with humanity – the list goes on.
Becoming familiar with something or someone requires action, initiative, and diligence. Am I willing to take the actions necessary TO become familiar with the person of Christ? Am I willing to take the initiative to study about Him? Am I willing to be diligent in this pursuit?
Yes, remembering His faithfulness in times past is SO important. All those “remember when…” moments with Jesus are absolutely vital to our stories, to our spiritual maturity, to our faith. But we can’t rely on our “remember when…” moments to carry us in life. Yes, He is tried and true. But understanding the WHY behind that is where we find ultimate growth in Him. That is where we find a deeper satisfaction that penetrates our very bones.
About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. | Hebrews 5:11-14
The difference between milk and solid food: epiginōskō. We need milk. Yes. But the question is this: Are we really going to live the rest of our lives content with milk when there is solid food awaiting us? If we cannot digest the milk then how will we even begin to chew on the solid food?
Spiritual maturity and growth are found in epiginōskō: An intentional, diligent action to not just “remember when,” but to become fully acquainted with the person of Christ – so that we immediately recognize Him, so that we immediately acknowledge Him. So that our faith would increase, as the disciples so requested of Jesus. So that our faith would be made like that of the Gennesaret people, who were so fully acquainted with Christ that they knew healing would come at the brush of the fringes of His garment.
Friends, epiginōskō must be our aim, our reality – to be fully acquainted with the person of Jesus Christ… Simply put,