How Do I Know You?

John 17: 3

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

You know, when I read this recently it gave me pause. We have a lot of ideas about what eternal life means. I think, though, that some of our ideas are more cultural or religious than they are scriptural. What I mean by that is that we have created a picture of eternal life as sitting around heaven or on a cloud somewhere. Jesus comes along and disrupts our thinking. Eternal life, he tells us, is not about what we do after we leave here. Eternal life in knowing God and knowing Jesus. So, the question we must ask ourselves is, “Do we know God, do we know Jesus?”

This perspective could change our evangelical approach too. Our goal no longer would be to get someone to say “the sinners’ prayer” so that they can punch their ticket to heaven and eternal life. Now our aim must be to introduce them to the person of Jesus and to lead them into knowing both he and the father. This approach would seem to mean that leading them into a relationship with the father and son is the key step. That means that discipleship takes on a new role as well as a first prayer. We must from the beginning teach that the key to eternal life is not a one-time prayer. It is the pursuit of the father and the son. We should teach that having accepted Jesus as one’s lord is the mere beginning. A life lived with Jesus and with the Father in close communion is what the father intended when He sent Jesus to earth. This is not burdensome. This is the delight of Christianity. It is an invitation to enter into a personal relationship with the creator of all.

This is pretty serious stuff. Saying the sinners’ prayer and then sitting on a pew for the rest of one’s life is not going to gain eternal life for any of us. Knowing Yahweh, the only true God and His son Jesus is the only path to attaining eternal life. That revelation may even shake up a few of us. Whom do we know that professes their Christianity, shrouds themselves with the religious trappings but in truth knows neither the father nor son? It is time for us to shake things up and encourage people to move forward in their relationship with the trinity. Otherwise, there may be a great multitude left behind.

John 17: 3

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

Do you want eternal life? Well, here Jesus gives us the recipe for life eternal. It is knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ. Eternal life is not in knowing about God, it is knowing Him personally. Think about that for a moment. There are many people who know a lot about God who will not get to enjoy eternity with Him. There are people who have studied the Bible thoroughly just so they can argue against Him and Christianity. Those people know a lot about God but they will not attain to eternal life. Eternal life comes through a relationship with God and with His son, Jesus Christ. 

Those who do not know God will endure eternal death. What do suppose eternal death to be? It is separation from God. God is love and all life is in Jesus so those who are separated from them will endure eternity without love or life. And did you know that Jesus endured this death for us so that we would never have to taste it? This is the real price that Jesus paid for us. For some period of time he was actually separated from God and that was hell. Do you remember when Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15: 34)  God separated Himself from Jesus when the sin of the world came to rest on Jesus. Look at the Amplified Version’s rendition of this verse, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?—which means, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me [deserting Me and leaving Me helpless and abandoned]?” How horrific that must have been for Jesus. Never in his entire life had he spent a single moment outside of God’s presence. I am sure it was the most horrible kind of suffering and death that one could ever be put to.

We think of Jesus’ beatings and crucifixion as the high price that he paid but those were trivial in comparison to the real price of being separated from his father. Jesus was not afraid of anything anyone could do to his body. He gave us that insight in Matthew 10: 28 when he said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” This was a foretelling of the death he would die. He knew he would go to hell in our place and he knew that to be the true death. He was taken out of his relationship with his father and made to stand in our place where sin separated us from the love of God. But Jesus suffered that hell for us and came out with victory over death and the keys to hell in his hand.

To know God is to know love but it is also the source of eternal life. We are to seek a personal relationship with our father and through that intimate association we gain abundant life and eternity with God. Get to know God and reap great rewards.