28/5/17 Year A Easter 7
 John 17:1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
6 "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one.

A man, down on his luck, went into a church which catered for posh people. Spotting the man's old & dirty clothes a deacon, worried about the churches image, went to the man and asked him if he needed help. The man said, "I was praying and the Lord told me to come to this church."

The deacon suggested that the man go pray some more and possibly he might get a different answer. The next Sunday the man returned. The deacon asked, "Did you get a different answer?" The man replied, "Yes I did. I told the Lord that they don't want me in that church and the Lord said, 'Don't worry about it son; I've been trying to get into that church for years and haven't made it yet."

Before Jesus the idea of knowing God was alien. One commentator, Ivor Powell wrote this. "The knowledge of God was something previously reserved for the elect, the favored among the race. The high priest, on the day of atonement, was permitted to enter into the Holiest of Holies, there to catch a fleeting glimpse of the mercy seat, but ordinary citizens were never given that privilege. Moses had climbed into the solitudes to listen and commune with God. To him had been granted the honour of getting a glimpse of God's back as the Infinite moved through the lofty valley. Yet Moses was alone when this happened, and the benediction of the hilltop never came on any other man. The scholastic rabbis knew something of the Holy Writings; they even knew something about God; but to know God as a Father, to seek and enjoy His presence, to fall at His feet in humble adoration, to share His home, and gaze into His face—to know God was something existing only in the realms of fancy. Even eternal life was a vague out-of-reach treasure which all men desired, but so few ever hoped to possess. The coming to earth of the Son of God completely shattered their preconceived notions. Eternal life was not a reward at the end of a meritorious life; it was a gift to undeserving sinners. This boundless invaluable treasure was not a new dispensation of grace from an eternal judge but a gift from their Friend, Jesus of Nazareth. To know Him was to know God; to enjoy the smile of His favour was to receive life - everlasting life. The laws of Moses, the traditions of the Fathers, success and defeat, effort and failure, all these were subservient to the one predominant thing: Christ had come. Life everlasting had already begun; they had learned to love the Saviour."
Jesus said 3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
What is eternal life? Knowing God. The opposite is not knowing God, which the Bible describes as death. Some people continue to breathe, to exist, but are dead to God.

Knowing God can only happen by knowing Jesus and recognising that he is God. It can only happen because of what Jesus did on the cross, this is the glorification that Jesus was referring to in verse 1. Glory in John's gospel is associated with the visible, self-disclosure of God, ultimately on the cross.

The cross glorified God the Father's wisdom, holiness, justice and love. It provided a way to punish sin and allow sinners to be forgiven and know God.

The cross glorified God theSon by glorifying His love and compassion, in dying for us.

So, eternal life is knowing God. It is not about knowing about God. It is a friendship of knowing God by knowing Jesus. Recognising that Jesus is God and was sent by God the Father. Trusting in Him for our relationship with God. Trusting in His teaching as a way to live. Talking to God, listening for His voice to lead and guide us. Being aware of His presence with us and within us. God lives in every believer by His Holy Spirit, which is what Jesus promised his followers in Acts 1.8. We celebrate this next Sunday at Pentecost.

Knowing God means that he loves us and we love him. Our creator, who is unknowable became known in and through a person, Jesus. Such love means we can feel secure knowing that our heavenly Father loves us, cares for us, will guide and protect us, and is waiting to welcome us into his presence for eternity. Knowing God means that we have joy. This is not determined by our circumstances. Christians have found joy in prison and terrible situations. Joy is deep within. Knowing God means that we have peace. By his death Jesus has made peace with God for us and ripped open the curtain separating us from God. Knowing God means that we are never alone. He is with us in our lives. He is within us by His Spirit. Knowing God means that we can converse with him. We can pray, somethingwe are doing at the moment as part of "Thy kingdom come". Knowing God means that we will worship him. This is preparation for heaven. Many of the pictures we have of heaven are of God being worshipped and adored.
Eternal life is a free and undeserved gift of God. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.

God's gift of eternal life is waiting for us to open and enjoy. Have you opened that gift? God loves you and want the best for you. You were created to have a right relationship with God. God offers you this through Jesus. You just need to say "yes", and start discovering what Jesus has for you.

Perhaps you have opened the present, but don't think you're getting all you can out of your relationshp with God through Jesus.
We need to come again and again to be renewed by God's Holy Spirit, to help us in our walk with Jesus. To help us to talk with Him, follow the ways he wants us to go, to know his love, joy and peace in our hearts. To reach out to others with His love.