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What does it mean that no one knows the Son except the Father (Matthew 11:27)?

no one knows the Son except the Father

In Matthew 11:27, Jesus states, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (ESV). The Greek word translated as “know” means “to become fully acquainted with.” The Father and Son are fully acquainted with one another because the Son was eternally begotten of the Father (John 1:1–2, 14; 3:16). No one knows the Son better than the Father, and no one knows the Father better than the Son.

In the Old Testament, the word know often refers to deep, personal, and intimate knowledge of someone or something. Speaking to Israel, God says, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2, ESV). God created every family (Psalm 24:1), but He made a special covenant with Israel. This is a unilateral covenant. There is nothing Israel did—or could do—to be chosen. It was solely because of God’s sovereign grace. In doing so, God intended for Israel to know and experience His love on a deep, personal, and intimate level.

God knows us both collectively and individually. Psalm 139:1–3 says, “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways” (ESV). God knows everything about us, including the number of hairs on our heads (Matthew 10:30), and still He accepts, loves, guides, and protects us. How wonderful is it to be completely known by God!

Jesus is completely known by God, as stated in Matthew 11:27. No one knows the Son except the Father. Here, Jesus articulates the personal and intimate relationship between Himself and the Father. While we may come to know some things about Jesus, such as His being the eternal Son of God and the Messiah, we can only “see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:12, ESV). The Father, however, has total and complete knowledge of His Son: “I am the good shepherd, I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14–15, ESV).

The Father’s knowledge of his Son includes the Son’s divine nature, thoughts, emotions, and will. This is reflected in John 10:30, where Jesus declares, “I and the Father are one.” Although we strive to know and experience Christ through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship with other believers, we must acknowledge that full and complete knowledge of the Son is not presently available. For this reason, Paul prays to God that we “may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18–19, ESV).

No one knows the Son except the Father, and so, for us to know the Son, the Father must reveal Him to us. Jesus declares, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). The Father draws us to His Son through the Word. Scripture, then, is how we come to know Jesus. But without a personal relationship with Him, we will not be transformed by what we read.

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What does it mean that no one knows the Son except the Father (Matthew 11:27)?
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This page last updated: May 13, 2024