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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
May 11, 2002

Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent.
John 17:3 (CEV*)

I have usually thought of eternal life as the life after this earthly life. Thus, in reading the lectionary passages for this Sunday, this verse stood out for me because Jesus (this is from a prayer of Jesus) is not presenting it that way.

This passage indicates that eternal life is something we can experience here and now. We enter eternal life not by some rite of passage after our earthly death, but by truly knowing God. Knowing God is surely not just an intellectual knowledge, but a deeper knowing. Think of knowing love, and you should understand how know is meant in this context.

The second part of the sentence is generally thought by scholars to be added by John to the words of Jesus, as Jesus would not have referred to himself by these words. But Jesus did indicate on a number of occasions that one knows the Father by knowing him, so there is no question that what is expressed is true to Jesus. It is important to understand that we get to know God by knowing Jesus Christ.

Isn't it great that we can experience eternal life here and now in our daily life? This passage, like so much of scripture, highlights the experience of God as the key to a meaningful life.

If you don't feel you truly know God, keep yourself open and receptive to having that experience by such means as prayer, reading the Bible, other spiritual disciplines, and fellowshiping with followers of Jesus. If you have come to truly know God, keep that experience alive and growing through these same means. Also, seek to share with others how that experience has changed your life.

Bill Samuel

* Contemporary English Version ©1995 American Bible Society.

©2002 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 27-Dec-2003 12:00:18 EST