Question: "What does it mean to know Jesus?"

Answer: When people speak of “knowing” Jesus, they refer to having a relationship with Him. Being a Christian is more than knowing about Jesus; being a Christian is knowing Him personally. Jesus spoke of the need to know the Savior when He prayed, “This is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

It is one thing to know about a sports hero, and quite another thing to be a friend of that athlete. You can read every news article on your hero, memorize every stat, and collect every piece of memorabilia yet never really know the athlete himself. To truly know a sports hero, you would have to do more than watch him play. You would have to have a relationship with him, based on time spent together and regular conversation. When a person truly knows Jesus, it is on the basis of a relationship; they spend time together and talk regularly. And, when we know Jesus, we also know God. “We know . . . that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true” (1 John 5:20).

How can you know Jesus? Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” You must believe that Jesus is Lord and that He has risen from the dead. The reason He died was to pay for your sin (1 Peter 2:24).

When you trust in Christ, you receive Jesus and become part of His family (John 1:12). In addition, John 3:16 says that you have been given eternal life: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” This life includes eternity with Christ in heaven and is available to you and to anyone who believes in Christ.

Ephesians 2:8–9 explains how salvation is the result of God’s goodness: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Knowing Jesus in salvation is not based on what we do; knowing Jesus starts with faith in Him, and our continuing relationship with Him is always rooted in faith.

There is no special prayer you must pray to know Jesus and believe in Him. However, the following prayer can be used right now to express your decision to place your faith in Jesus Christ:

“Dear God, I realize I am a sinner and could never reach heaven by my own good deeds. Right now I place my faith in Jesus Christ as God’s Son who rose from the dead to give me eternal life. Please forgive me of my sins and help me to live for you. Thank you for accepting me and giving me eternal life.”