Have you ever felt like you are just way too small and insignificant for Jesus to bother with you? Or even felt like Jesus doesn’t even know you? After all, that would seem normal. Think of all the people who have lived in this world, and who live in it now. That’s a lot of lives to care about. Some might think too many. “I’m just little ole me way our here on the prairie – how could Jesus even know about me, much less care about me?”

But yet, he does. Immensely. Infinitely. In fact, He loves you unconditionally, all-forgiving, and for eternity. Feeling unknown or nameless in front of Jesus is a natural condition for a human being. But, as the Apostle Paul teaches us, as followers of Jesus we no longer view people from a human point of view. We can see people (and other things) as God sees them … but more importantly, as God sees us!

 We are never nameless to God – God knew us before we were formed in the womb. We are never NOT known to God. Which, by the way, puts us in the company of many of the greatest characters in the Gospels – seemingly nameless and unknown, but yet, there they are. The nameless and unknown friends of Jesus … who were never nameless and unknown to Jesus.

Here are just some of my favorite Gospel characters … no names given … no faces revealed … but there they are – just like you and me – beloved children of God who Jesus has come to rescue.

Here are some of my favorite unknowns in the gospels. Do you remember any of these characters? See if there are glimpses of yourself in these friends of Jesus.       

Some “Unknowns” in the Gospels

  • Wise Men: Nobody knows where they really came from or where they went after their Jesus encounter in Bethlehem. What we do know is that they had a heart for God – seekers – and they trusted the signs and went – followers.
  • Sermon on the Mount: A nameless faceless crowd were the first to hear what is considered the greatest sermon ever. Who are the unknowns that got “touched” by the teachings of Jesus that day?
  • Roman Centurion: In a desperate plea of humility and bravery, a nameless Roman soldier of some rank comes to Jesus, despite the possible life or death consequences, and bows before the Lord to beg for his own servant’s life.
  • Paralytic Man: This unknown man was taken to Jesus so that he could heal him and let hm walk. The first thing Jesus does is to forgive the sins of the paralytic man. He may realize it, but now he is free from sin. And oh yeah, then Jesus healed his legs and the man walked away in glory.
  • Disciples of John: These Jewish seekers who were John the Baptist’s first followers, could actually be given the credit for starting the Jesus movement. They helped John “make a way” and some ended up as disciples of Jesus.
  • Man with the Withered Hand: He went to Temple on the Sabbath as usual, and there he met Jesus. By the time he left, Jesus had healed his hand, and in so doing, further angered the Jewish leaders who considered this “working” on the Sabbath, and thus a sin.
  • Canaanite Woman: This bold and persistent woman impresses Jesus with her amazing faith. Even though she is not a Jew, she believes Jesus can heal all people. She tells Jesus that even the “dogs” deserve some of the “crumbs” that fall from the Lord’s Table.
  • Rich Young Man: A man who is filled with religion … rituals, interpretations, laws, etc. … but doesn’t know the first thing about Jesus, comes to him to have his piousness affirmed. Instead, Jesus teaches the man that his heart is too connected to material things, and he had many material things! He left Jesus, grieving.
  • Palm Sunday Crowd: Who were these unknowns who were willing to take such a public risk to proclaim to the world that the Son of God has come to Jerusalem? Better yet, who would these “unknowns” be today? You, perhaps?
  • Woman with the Alabaster Jar: Another brave unknown woman who walked into the “man’s club” and poured her expensive oils over Jesus’ feet. Her sacrifice for Jesus was her most valuable possession. Jesus said we’d be talking about this woman through the ages. And we are.
  • 2 Thieves on Crosses: These unknown criminals revealed in their “on the cross” conversation the precise problem with Jesus; How could he be the Messiah if he can’t even save himself? Only one of the thieves realized it was all part of God’s plan. Jesus told that man He would see him soon in Paradise!

There are countless more “unknowns” in the Gospels, who turn out to be loved and cared for by Jesus. Can you think of some not listed here? Or maybe, you are that person today. Jesus is always calling …

To all of us … perhaps unknown to each other … but always known by God,

Pastor Bob <><