“In my Father’s presence in heaven, I’ll publicly acknowledge friendship with anyone who acknowledges friendship with me in front of other people. But I will deny friendship in my Father’s presence in heaven with those who deny friendship with me in front of other people.
Literally, what Jesus says is:
“Everyone who confesses in me before people, I will also confess in him before my Father in heaven.”
This is usually taken to mean that if we say we love Jesus in front of a group of people, then Jesus will acknowledge us in heaven. As of late, it has come to be expressed in passing along manipulative posts on Facebook. That that is not what is being said. Jesus is not telling us to pass along manipulative photo updates on Facebook or even telling others that we are Christian or talking about Jesus. Jesus says that “everyone who confesses in Him.” So what does “Confessing in Jesus” mean?
The word “confess” is ὁμολογία (homologia). The word is homo (same, similar, like) and logia (sayings, utterances). The λογία part is derived from λόγος (word). So the confession in Jesus has something to do with confessing the same words and sayings as Jesus.
When we confess Jesus, we confess what He said. We share His words and we speak like Him. We say what Jesus tells us to say, and we do what Jesus tells us to do. When we confess in Jesus, we do so by being like Jesus. We are similar to the Word, and Jesus is the Word of God.
Jesus tells us in John that He does not speak His own words, but He only speaks the words He has heard from His Father. Jesus confesses in God before people, and God glorifies Jesus. When we confess in Jesus, we confess in the Father, and the glory of the Father comes to us through
Jesus Christ. Jesus also helps us define what it means to confess in Him when He tells us:
“Not everyone who calls me ‘Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but only those who do what my Father in heaven wants him to do. There will be a lot of people who’ll say to me on Judgment Day, ‘Lord, didn’t we preach in your name? Wasn’t it your name we invoked when we performed exorcisms? Didn’t we put on public spectacles in your honor?’
“And I’ll say to those people, ‘To be honest, I’m drawing a blank. I’ve absolutely no idea who any of you are. Leave me alone! It sounds to me like all of you just like to make a commotion!’
Jesus makes it clear that it is not just about dropping Jesus’ name. Jesus makes it clear it is about doing, and it is about doing the will of God. And what is the will of God? The Word of God is the Will of God; therefore, when we talk and act like Jesus, we are doing the will of the Father.
Confessing in Jesus is about living like Jesus! We can mention His name. We can say we love Him. But if we are all talk and no action, if our lives do not conform to how He said to live, if we hate instead of love, condemn instead of forgive, withhold instead of give, trust in money, power, prestige instead of God, then we do not love Him, and we are not His friends, neither are we His disciples, nor His servants — we are strangers and name-droppers, and when we meet Jesus face-to-face, He will tell us that He has no idea who we are.
We confess in Jesus by how we live, by how we use what we have. We confess in Jesus by who we let ourselves become. If we confess in Jesus, we become more than conquerors. All power in heaven and on earth was given to Him, and He freely gives it to us to use in His name.
We confess who Jesus is, and by so doing, we confess who we have become. We confess that all power in heaven and on earth was given to us through Jesus Christ, who received all power from His Father. So when we confess in our power and authority as believers, we are confessing in Jesus. So there is nothing to be afraid of in this world because nothing can separate us from the love of God we have in Christ Jesus. The one who has all power also confesses our power through faith in Him.