For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
All people everywhere…are under the authority of Jesus Christ. It’s a startling claim, to say the least. There are those who truly know him or at least claim to know him…and then there are those who ignore him, as well as those who have never heard of him—a startling number at 3.2 billion. Whatever the circumstance may be, one thing is still true: Jesus has authority over every single one of them.
Do you know people who reject Christ, or show no interest?
Don’t give up on anyone that Jesus has authority over! You can and should be praying and asking Jesus to exercise that authority over your lost friends and family to bring them to the knowledge of his saving grace. But there is one other thing to add to that prayer—that God would choose them for his Son! D.A. Carson said, “Christians often think of Jesus as God’s gift to us; we rarely think of ourselves as God’s gift to Jesus.” Talk about a humbling thought. As we’ve seen in several places in John (like Jn. 6:44), God is the initiator of a saving relationship with Jesus, so we must pray into that truth as well.
What is eternal life, anyway?
Ginosko is the operative word in the second half of today’s verse. Our English translations use the word know, but the meaning is far deeper when it comes to the subject at hand—eternal life. In English the best way to translate it would probably be “to personally, intimately, and experientially know something.” To say, for example, that “I know what it’s like to have children,” would require a much deeper knowledge than to simply know that children exist and require parenting. Ginosko moves one from knowledge to experience, so when it comes to eternal life, this is the experience of a firsthand—and forever growing—experience with the God of all creation. It is not simply the passage of an unending timeline.
The great bible scholar, Merrill C. Tenney, observed that, “Life is active involvement with environment; death is the cessation of involvement with the environment, whether it be physical or personal.” Eternal life, then, means that we are alive and active to God’s environment. Lost people are not, just as animals are not. In Christ, your eternal life began when you became one of His children, and whether you have been walking with Him for a few years, or a few decades, that life is in its infancy…to say the least! It will continue to deepen and widen without end. You will keep growing in your knowledge of, and intimacy with, the Creator of All Things!
That is indeed…eternal LIFE.