Finrod and Andreth illustrated by SaMo
Could Jesus be 'found' purely from meditation, without external knowledge?
I tend to think that this 'must' be the case; in that I find it hard to imagine that God would have placed his children on earth in a situation where their salvation depended wholly upon 'other people' providing them with specific information on the identity and role of Jesus.
Conversely, it would seem almost certain that our loving Father wouldn't have failed to provide ways in which each person individually could come to know what he must know; whatever his individual circumstances.
The most obvious way that we might learn about Jesus is after our mortal death; when we could be told and shown what we need in order to choose the gift of resurrection and life eternal: post-morten direct revelation. And I am confident that something of that sort must happen.
However, without some preparation in mortal life, and in a situation when (for us, here and now) mortal life is likely to poison our minds against Jesus - in which moral inversion is a mainstream fact of life, post-mortem direct revelation may seem to be insufficient. Our mortal habits may be deeply ingrained, and evil choices more likely.
But how - even in principle - might an individual plausibly comes to knowledge of Jesus without any external source of information, or (more likely, perhaps) despite an abundance of false information about the nature and teachings of Jesus?
I believe there is a way; and that it is the Argument from Desire - which was often articulated by CS Lewis, and seems to have been shared by his great friend JRR Tolkien.
The AfD says that when humans profoundly and spontaneously desire something not of this world, the experience suggests the reality of another world; a yearning for that which 'nature' cannot supply suggests its super-natural existence.
An example is given by Tolkien in his story ‘Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth’, translated as ‘The Debate of Finrod and Andreth’ and published in Morgoth's Ring, Volume 10 of the History of Middle Earth, edited by Christopher Tolkien. The subject is death, and the debate is over whether the fear of death is an indication that the world has been marred by Morgoth, or (and this is the argument from desire) whether it suggests that death is not inevitable, and that Man is destined for immortality.
Since immortality is not possible in this world, then the universal fear of death (and perhaps the sense that death, when understood as the absolute end of the soul, is unnatural) can be taken as a kind of 'evidence' that in fact Man is, or can be, immortal in another world (i.e. a world beyond death).
Whether you personally find the Argument from Desire to be powerful is - presumably - a matter of disposition or habit. Like Lewis and Tolkien, I do find it powerful - and potentially decisive.
My intuitive feeling is that when - over a long period of time when I am thinking 'at my best' - my desire recurs to some-thing; that that thing represents a reality. It is probably not a literal reality in the exact way I formulate it; but I have the conviction that the reality of what I yearn-for, is an actual (and potentially attainable) reality.
On that basis, I think it perfectly possible that a person utterly ignorant of Jesus, or a Person who has learned nothing but falsehoods about Jesus, could - from the nature of his own deepest desires - come to know the truth about Jesus: who he was, what he gave us.
I don't think this would happen to everybody, because not-everybody wants what Jesus offers us; but it could certainly happen for some people. Those of us who deeply and spontaneously want resurrected, divine, creative, life eternal; in the divine presence and among other souls who want the same, some of whom we love in mortal life...
Well, those of us who want that reality which underlies this experience of desire, may well believe that satisfaction of this desire has-been made possible to us-personally, by the divine person of 'Jesus' - even without knowing his name, or anything else about him.