…about eternal life and what it really is.
The other week I was reading John 17 again and noticed Jesus’ definition of eternal life:
“And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (Joh 17.3)
I would have bet the farm that the verb for “know” used here was epiginosko, the knowledge that comes from experience. It would seem to fit the relational nature of the subject. But John uses ginosko, which I have always considered a somewhat less intense form of knowledge. That is not necessarily true. Ginosko bespeaks absolute knowledge, and also denotes intimacy in a very striking way. It is the same verb that is used of the sexual union between a husband and wife—in Mat 1.25, for example. This intimate quality is alluded to in Joh 17.21 and 23:
“’that they may all be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me…I in them and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.’”
In this way the physical relationship between a husband and wife beautifully illustrates the union between Father and Son and between Bridegroom and Church. Thus, Paul said in Eph 5.32 that he spoke “of a great mystery…concerning Christ and the Church.”
And how does God make provision for that knowledge? I thought of four ways, and they all are related to God’s Word:
- Through Creation, God’s Word became MATTER (Gen 1, Joh 1)
- Through Inspiration, God’s Word became LITERATURE (Heb 1.1,2)
- Through Incarnation, God’s Word became FLESH (Joh 1.14)
- Through Proclamation, God’s Word became OURS (2 Cor 5.17-21)
May we really learn to know God as He designed us to know Him!