Eternal life NOW!
On Memorial Weekend Sunday I read the Gospel lesson, John 17:1-11. I realize that whenever I read scripture and it goes against something I learned in Sunday School, it sparks my curiosity. How could this be that the Bible says something different than what I learned in my youth? Why would the teachings of the church not agree with scripture? Any idea? Many Protestants may not realize this but our tradition of “Solo Scriptura” scripture alone, was not the basis for faith for the first 1,500 years of Christianity. Much of our church doctrine/dogma originated from within the Roman Catholic tradition which did not find the need to anchor faith to scripture. The teachings of the church were created through the gathering of Church leaders, various councils as they were called. This group of “men” throughout the centuries decided what was acceptable and unacceptable in church doctrine. When Protestants anchored the authority of God to scripture, some teachings of the church became obsolete because they were not based on scripture alone, but instead on reason, and culturally acceptable norms. There is much in scripture that does not conform to the teachings of the church and I like to delve in and seek to understand what some of the earliest Christian thinkers and writers were conceiving. It has also freed me from the is terrible life limiting thought that, the Holy Spirit worked well one time in history, years, and years ago, and I just have to go back and accept what was being taught then and my faith and salvation would be fine. I believe that the Holy Spirit is as active today as it ever was, we just articulate it differently.
This is what caught my eye this past Sunday. John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” WHAT? I thought eternal life had to do with life after death! Knowing God, knowing Jesus…that’s eternal life????? You betcha! At least according to these verses. It rings true to me. Knowing God as Jesus proclaimed with his words and his life, paints a wonderful picture of God that brings LIFE. True LIFE, Eternal LIFE, today. It is in the Gospel of John that we read 7 “Ego Eimi” sayings. “Ego Eimi” is Greek for “I AM”. These 7 sayings, paint a beautiful picture of God because, knowing Jesus, listening to Jesus, believing what Jesus says about God is how I come to know “the Father”. John 14:7, “If you know me, you will know my father also”. Knowing God through Jesus, is eternal life for me.
Don’t wait to die for Eternal Life! Get to know God through Jesus and LIVE!