Jesus now goes aside to pray concerning His upcoming death and for His disciples. This is commonly called the “High Priestly Prayer.” In the opening verses He deals with one of the most important questions, “What is eternal life?”
Eternal life is given to the elect
Jesus is clear: He alone has all the power, including the power of salvation. Eternal life is something that Jesus gives; it is not something that we attain, earn, or merit. It is entirely given by His grace. He will give eternal life to the ones the Father has given Him. This means that the elect will be saved. It cannot be otherwise. This means two things. One, Jesus will not return to this earth until all of His sheep have been gathered into the fold. We must share the Gospel if we desire to see Christ return. Two, we cannot fail in sharing the Gospel. God has promised to save His people, and they will be saved through the preaching of the Gospel.
Eternal life is not the afterlife
We so often mistake eternal life as “going to heaven when you die.” In many respects the afterlife is simply a natural extension of eternal life. However, eternal life begins in this life. Does it continue in heaven? Yes. Is that all it is? No.
Eternal life is not the external life
Many people believe that eternal life is seen in religious deeds. They compare themselves with other people and see that they are more “righteous” than others. They conclude that this means they have eternal life. However, external deeds are simply the marks of being a Pharisee. They mean nothing when it comes to eternal life.
Eternal life is knowing God
Eternal life is the life of God in the soul of man. It is a restoration of the intimate fellowship and knowledge of God that man had in Eden before the fall. The question is not whether you are going to heaven when you die, but, “Do you KNOW God?” Salvation is not memorizing Scripture or knowing about God. It is knowing God Himself.
Jesus desires to glorify the Father in His life and death
Jesus has lived a perfect life for God’s glory, and now He prays that God would be glorified in His death. He knows that He will experience separation from God and become sin for us. This exchange is what the Gospel is all about. He is forsaken so that we might be received. He is made sin so that we might be made righteous. He is rejected so that we might be accepted. He desires nothing more than to experience the flaming sword of God’s wrath and return to His fellowship. Because of Jesus we can now return to the fellowship of Eden to the glory of Jesus and the Father.
Do you know God?