JUNE 11, 2020
“After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’” (John 17:1-3)
As I approach the end of my reflections on the words Jesus spoke to his disciples as he was preparing them for his departure, I am led to verse 3 of John chapter 17.
In previous reflections, I have mentioned something to the effect that, for me, heaven is not much a place but the reality of the consummate presence and power of God. This week’s scripture passage discloses what I have believed about the life God gives and the promise of life eternal with God. Jesus affirms that he was sent in order to give eternal life to all whom God had given him. In another verse, Jesus says, he came in order that we may have life and have it abundantly or to the fullest. Eternal life and abundant life are synonymous for me. And in this week’s scripture, Jesus explains what he means: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ.”
This begs the question, what does it mean then to “know God”? To know God can mean many things. It can mean to perceive, to understand, to recognize, to comprehend. It can also mean to enter into a very intimate personal relationship through which we know things about God and experience God. I believe then that to know God means all these things and more.
If Jesus came in order that we might have life fully, then we are invited to know God fully. Human language is insufficient to describe the fullness of the life that God wants us to know. But, perhaps, it is sufficient to say that we are invited to imagine all the ways that God wants us to know life and have it fully. And, as we imagine all the ways that God wants us to know life, we are first drawn into a relationship with God, and Jesus Christ whom he sent, through the enduring power of the Holy Spirit. We are to seek God in all things and for all things. If we are to know God, then we can trust that God can be known – and fully known.
As your pastor, that is all I have ever wanted for you. I have wanted you to simply know God. I tried to share what I know of God from my own relationship with God. And I have learned more about God from you because of your own personal relationship with God. Together, we affirmed one another and we challenged one another. And I hope that through it all we grew all the more into a deeper knowing of God and Jesus Christ whom God sent, all this through the enduring power of the Holy Spirit among us.
As I prepare to take my leave, I pray the same for you. I pray that you may continue to grow into the full knowledge of God. Jesus clearly believes that knowing God is eternal life, so I pray that you will know that eternal life is a gift God gives for the present moments as well as the future. So I pray that your life will be abundantly full of all that God desires and intends for you.
May it be so! Amen.
In Faith & Love, Pastor Shandi