Friends, I must begin this with my deepest thanks to all those who emailed and/or called during these last few weeks. I’m not sure what exactly Skip & I had, but whatever it was, it was diabolical. I was sick first, then as I began to recover, he came down with it. Yesterday, was one of the first days that we have been out of the house, and that was only by necessity. So thank you all for your prayers and concern. 🙂
The first five verses of John, (ch. 1) have always been some of my favorites. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created. Life was in Him, and that life was the light of men. That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it.”
Those verses so distinctly describe our Savior and I think of how blessed the Apostle John was to have been given such a wonderous glimpse of God.
So when someone tells me that they want to begin reading the Bible, I immediately think of what John wrote and it only makes sense to begin with those words, “In the beginning. . “
Further along in John (Ch. 17) , John has recorded for us the words that Jesus spoke, “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent, Jesus Christ.”
Now this is not John’s first mention of “eternal life”, in fact, in previous chapters leading up to chapter 17, John has talked about eternal life many times. But it is here, in vs. 3 of chapter 17, that Jesus tells us exactly what “eternal life” truly is.
Jesus knew exactly what eternal life was. He is eternal life and that truth was spelled out “in the beginning”. . . .
Now Jesus tells us that eternal life is knowing God, the only true God AND the One God sent, that is Jesus.
Jesus didn’t say that knowing God was a part of eternal life or was just included in eternal life. No, Jesus said that knowing God and knowing the One Whom God had sent WAS eternal life.
Truly, there are many things that included in eternal life, like forgiveness of our sins, giving up hell as a final destination in exchange for the peace and joy of heaven.
Having God’s protection, intervention and guidance in our lives is certainly part of eternal life, as is, having a family much larger than just our own immediate kin, which is a blessing beyond measure. And above all, having an intimate relationship with our Savior is one of the sweetest parts of our eternal life.
But regardless of how many things one can add to the list, it is still insufficient to describe the fullness of eternal life. I guess it’s like trying to describe the whiteness of the sun to someone who has never seen it.
Only what Jesus Christ said in that verse is adequate to explain eternal life.
“This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent, Jesus Christ. ”
When I consider all the people who I have known and do still know, I must think of their relationship to me. Even the closest of friends can’t be there for me every time I go through a rough place in my life, but Jesus is.
There is not one friend, past or present who can turn my heart, heal my heart, lift my heart or fill my heart. But Jesus can.
There is not one person that I know who would not turn from me in my failure, but Jesus won’t.
Our eternal life should be the center of our thoughts. It is there that our relationship with our Savior is secured.
Hudson Taylor who was the founder of the first missions group to China, the China Inland Mission, once said, “The experience of most of us shows how easily communion with Christ may be broken, and how needful are the exhortations of our Lord to those who are indeed branches of the true Vine, and cleansed by the Word which He has spoken, to abide in Him. The failure is never on His side. “Lo, I am with you always.” But, alas, the bride often forgets the exhortation addressed to her in Psalms 45:10-11, “Listen, daughter, pay attention and consider: forget your people and your father’s house, and the king will desire your beauty. Bow down to Him, for He is your Lord..”
Tender plants are damaged by the frost, even large branches are torn down by strong winds. Jesus likened believers to the branches of the true Vine. It is up to each of us to keep our communion with our Savior intact.
Lord God of the beginning of beginnings,
I thank You for bringing Your healing to this house. As we savor Your Word each morning, keep us mindful of Your eternal life.
Strengthen our faith and guide us so that we can faithfully care for that tender connection that we have as branches on the true Vine. Help us to set aside all things that might damage our connection to You.
Stir our hearts to seek You, to desire Your beauty and to worship only You.