John 17:1-13 2023/05/28 Osaka Church
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit
At the end of the Last Supper, our Lord Jesus prayed to the Father in heaven, “Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
When we hear the words of Jesus, we must not get caught up in superficial meanings. The Lord uses only gentle and simple words. He uses only simple words because He loves us.
One is “eternal life.” Eternity is not “time without end”. “Life” does not refer to the phenomenon of physical life itself. When God created man, He promised to lead him willingly to that “good thing,” if only man would desire it, and He knew the inadequacy of human language, but He chose to express it as “Eternal Life”.
It is “good.” In what way?
Beautiful, pleasant, joyful, abundant… However many words we may pile up to describe such “goodness,” we will never be able to describe what that “goodness” is. The “eternal,” the word that most stirs our longing for the unseen, and the “life,” the word that most thrills our hearts, point to something that can only be vaguely outlined in language.
Jesus, on the other hand, simply says, “Eternal life. This “something” that can only be described as “Eternal life” is to “know” God and Jesus himself. So we read the Bible with great eagerness. We study theology. We study the Bible. We explore the historical and cultural background of Jesus. But we don’t find that “something”. This is because we also understand the word “know” only on the surface. In fact, what is being referred to here as “knowing” is also a something that can only be described as “knowing”. In the biblical tradition, “to know” means rather that a person imprints the experience into the deepest parts of his soul and body, or, in common terms, “to know with the body”. “Knowing a woman” or “knowing a man” does not mean superficially knowing the differences between men and women. It is to share the joys and sorrows of life together, to reconcile the misunderstandings and differences that occur constantly in each other’s lives, and to enter into each other’s hearts with gratitude, and joy at the depths that we have never known before.
Yes. To know God and to know Christ is to continue to deepen our communion with God and with Christ without end. You could say it is a deepening in our prayer life.
When we think of prayer, we may only think of the well behaved “praying”. But prayer can also be a trembling protest, anger, or intense lamentation to God or to Christ. Of course, prayer is praise and thanksgiving. But there can be no true thanksgiving or praise to God if one has never cried out, “God, why are you forcing me to feel this sadness? ” Even Christ cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ” To live itself becomes a prayer, and such a life of prayer is to “know” God.
And this life of continuous “knowing” of God must be centered on the Eucharistic liturgy, the sharing of the body of Christ Jesus, who took on flesh and became man. Just as a husband and wife share their bodies with joy, overcome various conflicts and deepen their understanding of each other in the utter and unconditional trust that is confirmed there, so we too, by continuing to joyfully receive the “flesh and blood” of Christ our God in our bodies, we will “know” God’s love as a sure reality that makes us alive that makes us capable of loving and obtaining one another. In the Church, in this Eucharistic celebration, you feel something “good” that you cannot experience anywhere else in the world. For there we truly “know” Christ. That “good” is what can only be called “eternal life,” the true joy that God has promised to mankind.
Eternal life is to “know” Him, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.