You Know Him (John 17:3)
Have you ever had the experience of learning a lot about somebody, but never having met them personally? Maybe you have a friend that told you about another friend they have. Perhaps your friend has told you a good deal about their friend, including where they live, what they do for a living, what they like or a bit about their accomplishments. In any case, you now know a good deal about this third person, but you’ve never actually met them. You don’t know them personally.
When I first became a Christian, I had the opportunity to listen to a lot of cassette tapes by a certain individual. This person really helped me grow in my Christian faith. They were a fantastic teacher. I learned a lot about them from what they taught and what other people had told me about them. I was really encouraged by what I was learning from them. Now, it just so happened that when I decided to go to grad school, they were there at the school teaching. So, I struck up a friendship with them and eventually became a grader for them. On a few occasions I visited him and his wife at their home and had several lunches together. What a difference it is to hear them on tape or to learn a lot about them and then to meet them personally, to know them as it were, face to face.
Now This Is Eternal Life
A personal relationship, to know someone face to face, is a profound reality, something we were designed and redeemed for. God has designed us to know Him. This is the very reality Jesus is pointing to as He prays for us in John 17. In chapters 13 -17, which is really a unit of thought – you ought to read these chapters at one sitting – and notice the personal and relational language Jesus employs as He prepares His disciples for His imminent departure i.e., His death, resurrection, and return to glory. But, He says, “I will send another to be with you forever; I will not leave you as orphans (John 14:18).
Jesus tells the disciples that He is going away, but He’ll send another just like Himself, the Holy Spirit. The Spirit will teach and guide the disciples, mediating their relationship with Christ, and making His person and true identity known to them (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13-14). In the context of the coming of the Spirit and our fellowship with Father, Son and Spirit, Jesus says we know God, which in itself is akin to eternal life. We don’t just know about God, we actually know Him face to face through Christ (2 Cor 4:4, 6).
Knowing God through faith in Christ is not just the knowledge of having heard a lot about Him, as if I were listening to His tapes, but had never met Him. No, knowing God, in Jesus’ frame of reference, entails not only knowledge about Him, but something much deeper than mere acquaintance. He engages us directly and leads us into fellowship within the triune community of love.
You see, Jesus teaches us that when you come into a relationship with Him, you simultaneously enter a relationship with the entire Godhead, Father, Son and Spirit (John 14:23). Jesus says, “He who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), “I and the Father are one” (Jn 10:29), and “No one comes to the Father but through me” (Jn 14:6). He promises us that when we believe in Him the Father will love us and come to us and together they will make their home with us (Jn 14:23). The point is, through faith in Christ we enter into eternal life – a life characterized by the presence and knowledge of God, the true and living God, and not some idol of our own making. He addresses us, summons us, blesses us, and speaks to us = all realities that every Christian experiences – and He bids us know Him more; these are not the realities that pertain to anything except a personal, profound, and transformative relationship.
Do you recall that in the previous video we talked about Exodus 6? Remember that according to Exodus 6, God said, “I will be your God and you will be my people.” Well, He fulfilled this promise through Christ, the mediator of our promise-relationship with God. In this relationship with Christ, this eternal relationship, the Spirit will take from what is Christ’s and make it known to us (John 16:13-14), thus making known the Spirit and the Father.
We are joyfully dependent on God to make Himself known to us and filled with joy as He does so (1 Peter 1:8-9). Our relationship with God through Christ should result in praise and thanksgiving to Him, the heartbeat of an obedient life. Jesus asks the Father to sanctify us, to set us apart for Himself through gospel truth, through God’s word (Jn 17:17). May God set us apart for Himself that we might manifest God’s character to the wider world.