Eternal Life - Part 1
August 13, 2022
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent (John 17:3).
The idea of eternal life is a mysterious concept. We have no real frame of reference that would help us understand it because we are bound by time and space. We are born, we live, we die, and that is life. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. You turn man to destruction, and say, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years in Your sight are like yesterday when it is past, and like a watch in the night. You carry them away like a flood; they are like a sleep. In the morning they are like grass which grows up: in the morning it flourishes and grows up; in the evening it is cut down and withers. For we have been consumed by Your anger, and by Your wrath we are terrified. You have set our iniquities before You, our secret sins in the light of Your countenance. For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away (Psalms 90:2-10).
The general thinking of most people regarding eternal life is that of quantity - the length of time (which is a misnomer because eternity has not time parameters), or forever and ever, and then some. Jesus defines eternal life in terms of quality - knowing Him and the Father. The word ‘know’ (ginosko) refers to more than just intellectual stuff about the Father and Jesus, but stresses an intimate, personal, loving relationship with the Father and the Son. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me (John 17:25). I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep (John 10:14-15).
I remember a class I took in college on Old Testament survey. One of the textbooks was These Sought a Country, by Dr. Robert L. Cate. It is a fascinating book that made the Old Testament come alive for me. I learned a few things about Dr. Cate from reading the book and appreciated his insight on the Old Testament. When I went to seminary, I was thrilled to have Dr. Cate as my Old Testament professor. I was even more thrilled to become a personal friend to him and Mrs. Cate, so much so they visited the Winton church on a couple of occasions. I really got to know and appreciate him as a scholar, fellow pastor, teacher, and friend - more so than from just reading about him.
For many Christians it is thrilling to read the stories about Jesus. But the greater thrill will come when we meet Him face to face and we get to spend time getting to know Him personally, intimately; to actually touch His nail pierced hands, to hear His voice as He speaks, to speak to Him and have Him respond to us. There are so many things I want to ask, and will ask, as I get to know Jesus better in the fellowship all of us will enjoy in eternity! Amen.