Eternal life – how would you define it?  How do you picture it?  How would you describe?  Eternal life – when is it?  Where is it? I probably wouldn’t be too far off base to say that most of us would directly correlate eternal life with Heaven. Right?  Well, me too.  I’m learning more however, that God’s view of eternal life is much broader.  Or I should say, more internal than external.

(Jesus said) And this is eternal life – that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

John 17:3

When I read this, I had to stop and read it again.  Jesus just defined “eternal life” – very cool!  But, it’s not exactly how I would have defined or explained “eternal life”.  But, His definition intrigued me.  I would have defined eternal life as “Heaven” vs. Hell – spending forever with Jesus.  I do believe that this is definitely coming for those who believe, but this verse confirms that Jesus is absolutely concerned with who we are now as well.  Our life is not just about securing a “ticket” to Heaven, but it’s about who we are today, tomorrow and the next.  He is so concerned with our character, our motivations, our dreams and our goals – that he describes eternal life in the now.  Why?  Who we are today defines who we will be tomorrow.

Digging into this verse a bit more, I wanted to find out exactly what Jesus meant by “that they know You… and Jesus Christ…” What did Jesus intend when he described eternal life as “know”-ing God and Jesus?  “Know” being the verb in this sentence, it is the action word.  It is the “our part” in this verse.  So, I looked up this verse in a bible concordance. I was quite intrigued to what I found.  The word “know” in the original Greek text is the word ginōskō – a verb – an action word. This word means to know or learn through experience – to take in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand, or to understand completely.  This word “ginōskō has also been used to describe the intimacy between a married man and his wife.

Hmmm – quite interesting when you take the definition or meaning of this word “know” and reflect it against how Jesus defines “eternal life”.   This is how this verse would read if I were to “insert” the definition of know in its place (kind of like the amplified version).

(Jesus said) – this is eternal life – that they (you and me) learn through experience to recognize and understand intimacy and closeness with the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He sent.

John 17:3

Wow! Two things that really stand out to me about this verse:

1.  Eternal life is dependant upon both God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.  They are inseparable – always together. You can’t truly know the one true God without also knowing His Son Jesus Christ.

2.  There is no doubt how important a deep and intimate relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ is.  His desire for this relationship with us is far more important to Him than the “mansion” he’s building for us in Heaven (John 14:3).  The “mansion” is the bonus… the icing on the cake – not the main attraction. The work-picture that comes to mind is living in the most beautiful home I could ever imagine.  Being so happy and full of joy to have it, but still lonely because there is no one to share it with.  God’s desire for us goes far beyond just giving us a “ticket” to heaven.  He wants us to develop a deep and intimate relationship with Him and His Son here on earth so that our mansion in Heaven won’t be “lonely”.  And relationships take time to build and are developed intentionally – they don’t happen on their own – or accidentally.

Most of us have been to a concert at some point.  I remember as a young(er) man going to some rock concerts.  I was all excited and pumped to go.  But, I was like most concert goers – all I had was a ticket to get in.  At the time, that seemed enough, but later I remember thinking how much more awesome would it have been to have had a backstage pass as well – to have been able to spend time with the band.  That would have made the concert so much more meaningful and rewarding.

So, how has all this changed me?  Lately, I’ve been praying and asking the Lord to help me to build a stronger, deeper and more intimate relationship with Him.  Lord, I want to live out your definition of eternal life today, tomorrow and forever. Help me to be intentional in all my relationships, especially my relationship with you – to build and develop them on purpose.  Amen.

Captivated by Christ – Driven by Purpose…


  1. Debra says:

    I love this blog and your insite into the scripture! As always, thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart. I love you!

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