One of the most often misunderstood concepts of our faith is Jesus’ promise that all who believe in the gospel will have eternal life. Without referring to the scriptures, we may fall into the misconception that eternal life means simply that we will live forever. While we may very well live forever, the term eternal life means something more nuanced. In today’s gospel passage from John, Jesus shares with us the fullness of what it means to have eternal life.
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
So you see, eternal life means that we know the Father and that we know the Son. Why is this definition important to us? Because to know the Father and the Son is to live in union with them. In other words, when we know God we know our true selves, created in God’s image and likeness. and when we know our true selves we understand our place in God’s creation.
Know God and his Son Jesus Christ, and you will share in eternal life!