Eternal Life Is ...
Scripture Reading — John 3:13-21; 17:1-3
"This is eternal life, that they may know you, the ... true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3 —
In a class I teach, I often ask the students, "What is eternal life?" Though the question may sound simple, the answer is not simple at all.
Some people think eternal life means we will never die. But funeral processions and cemeteries show that death is a fact we can't escape in this world. Others suggest that eternal life means "going to heaven." Then, of course, we need to define heaven and ask whether eternal life involves our bodies as well as our souls.
John 17 offers a different definition of eternal life. Jesus shows that eternal life is first of all about knowing God. It's about having a relationship with God
Now this knowing is not simply knowing about God, or simply admitting that God exists. Knowing God means being intimately connected with God. And the key component to that connection involves knowing Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent into this world to reconcile us to himself.
Though Christ promises Paradise to all who trust in him, eternal life is not first about getting to heaven. Nor is it first about living forever, though in Christ we look forward to life in a new creation. Eternal life begins already today. That's why we nurture this new life in God through prayer and Bible study. That's why we get rid of behaviors that set up roadblocks to God's presence.
Lord Jesus, you are the way, the truth, and the life. Help us to find true life today in our relationship with you and your Father. In your name we pray. Amen.