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John 17:3

John 17:3
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John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

John 17:3 is one of the  most paradigmatic verses for me in all of scripture….it overflows with implications for all of life and informs pretty much everything I do and create…So with that being said, how can I explain it in a quick daily update like this? Well, I’ll just touch on the two points that I tried to highlight in this picture (though, as I said, there is not one sphere of existence that the truths in this verse do not influence).

First, Jesus explains that the center, heart and vitality of “eternal life” is knowledge of a person. That alone is staggering. Eternal life is not mainly about sinlessness, the removal of suffering and pain, reunion with lost loved ones, a universe to explore and cultivate, etc. etc….all those things and more are definitely part of it–but the essence of eternal life is knowledge (and, in a personal context, this “knowledge” implies intimate, affectional fellowship) of a PERSON.

Think about it in light of a marriage….what is my marriage to Courtney? It’s sweet memories, its walking through hard times together, its inside jokes and special rhythms of life etc. etc….but at the center of it all–giving vitality to it all–is my relationship to Courtney, me knowing her and she knowing me. If that personal knowledge was removed, all the rest would be a dead husk. And the same is true for “eternal life.” The heart of it is knowing God, the rest is a context for that communion….and the glorious thing is that this knowledge is something we can enjoy now….we are already ascending the foothills of the mountain that is eternal life.

Second, notice that Jesus says eternal life is to know God AND to know Christ…but, if we’ve read this far into John’s gospel, then we know that to know Jesus and to know God (the Father) is not to know two different beings….to know Jesus IS to know the Father (John 14:9). To behold and know the Son is to behold and know the Father. So, when Jesus says eternal life is to know God AND the Son, I believe John would have us understand that this is to know God IN the Son (since to know Christ is to know God and to know God is to know Him in Christ….and all of this only by the Spirit, John 3;5-6, 16:14-15).

The essence of eternal life, then, is to KNOW (and enjoy) GOD in His SON, by the SPIRIT…and then we come to the most beautiful part of this entire concept….when is Jesus speaking these words? With His crucifixion looming before Him…..the Son is about to pour out His life on the cross, darkness–it will seem for a time–is about to descend, and it is NOW, that the Son will glorify (that is, communicate externally the internal beauty of) the Father (John 12:27-28, 13:31-32, 17:1,5). In other words, we do not truly know God in His Son and so have eternal life until we know Him in the CRUCIFIED Son, in light of His resurrection……

That is the heart of it, that is the glory of it, that is the wonder of it….God will not be known savingly in any other way than in the crucified and risen Son….if we are to know and enjoy God and so truly live, we MUST know Him in the one–indeed, as the one–who dies in love on Calvary and rises in victory three days later.

This man dying–and all motivations for and implications of His death–and this man rising again, THIS is the definitive revelation of God to creation……and that single concept….that single reality–God made known at the cross of Christ–that is worth (and will receive) an eternity of enraptured exploration by the redeemed Bride.