Mon: John 11:1-16 Thu: John 17:13-26 Sun: John 17:3
Tue: John 11:17-44 Fri: John 2:23-3:8
Wed: John 17:1-12 Sat: John 3:9-21
Several years ago, I was sitting on the floor on a Sunday morning with 15 or so first through sixth graders crowded around me. It was my week to just sit and listen to my good friend teach. I loved to teach, but I also treasured the chance to sit amongst the kids and be one of them for the day. Although the age range was challenging, my friend and I were never shy about asking “big” questions through the Bible lessons we taught. On that particular morning, my friend opened with “So, what is eternal life?”
I quickly looked around to observe the faces of the children. They were priceless — as were the answers they gave. One of the most fun and rewarding parts of teaching those children was to “pull the pin” on a big question, toss it into the middle of the room, and then stand back and brace yourself for their extraordinary responses. If you think that big questions aren’t meaningful for children that age, I challenge you to volunteer with the children’s ministry.
I wish I remembered all their answers. But I do remember making eye contact with my friend several times and exchanging glances of “Did you hear what they just said?!” I remember being completely absorbed as they spoke and not saying much as I let their words ping-pong around in my mind and settle into my soul. After a priceless discussion, my friend read a verse and suggested a truth that caused a fundamental and forever shift in how I live my life (both day-to-day and with the future in view).
He read Jesus’ words from John 17:3:
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Jesus is praying to the Father in the minutes before He is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. The time has come for the events to begin which will see Jesus go willingly to the cross and give His life for our sins. The gift He offers in dying and rising again is available to all who believe in Him and what He did. That gift is eternal life (John 17:2).
So what about you? How would you answer the question my friend asked? Is eternal life living forever? Is it heaven? When you make the decision to believe in Jesus, He gives you new life … eternal life. But do we really understand what that means? I used to have a very “forward” understanding of eternal life. It was always associated with the future, but I don’t believe that anymore. I do believe I’ll live forever, but life here and now became forever different that morning sitting amongst the kids. I breathe and live differently now. My pursuit is to know God more, to experience him in the “every day,” to serve and walk alongside others, to see the face of Jesus in theirs, to experience the death of a friend and see Jesus as he stopped and wept at the tomb of Lazarus (John 11:33-35). Knowing God. Knowing Jesus. This is life. This is life in this breath and in the next. This is life today, tomorrow and forever.