Friday, May 14, 2010

To Know God is to Have Eternal Life

Shortly before His passion, Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17.3) These words were spoken during what is referred to as the “High Priestly Prayer” which is similar to what the Jewish high priest would pray immediately before offering the sacrifice. In His prayer, Jesus prays for the safety and future unity of the Apostles and the future Church. He also states certain truths in His prayer to the Father for our benefit. He says, “These things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” (John 17.13) Throughout the prayer Jesus continues to teach that He and the Father are in total harmony and unity. Jesus says, “For I have given them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.” (John 17.8)

In these words Jesus is not speaking simply of learned knowledge that is intellectual but of knowledge that comes from personal experience. When we experience Jesus Christ in a personal way such as receiving Holy Communion, then we can know Him. When we know Jesus Christ, then we have eternal life. Holy Communion and knowing God in Jesus Christ cannot be separated. It can be compared to knowing “of” someone but not actually knowing that person. Only when we meet face to face can we truly say we know anyone and that includes God.

He came 2000 years ago so that the world could know Him and through Him know the Father. Jesus said, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14.9) This connection between seeing God and being in Communion with God is highlighted in the hymn we sing at every Divine Liturgy after receiving Holy Communion: “We have seen the true light; we have received the heavenly Spirit; we have found the true faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity, for the Trinity has saved us.”

My brothers and Sisters, have you seen the Light?