17:3 Now this 1 is eternal life 2 – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, 3 whom you sent.
2 sn This is eternal life. The author here defines eternal life for the readers, although it is worked into the prayer in such a way that many interpreters do not regard it as another of the author’s parenthetical comments. It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God. Having eternal life is here defined as being in relationship with the Father, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. Christ (Χριστός, Cristos) is not characteristically attached to Jesus’ name in John’s Gospel; it occurs elsewhere primarily as a title and is used with Jesus’ name only in 1:17. But that is connected to its use here: The statement here in 17:3 enables us to correlate the statement made in 1:18 of the prologue, that Jesus has fully revealed what God is like, with Jesus’ statement in 10:10 that he has come that people might have life, and have it abundantly. These two purposes are really one, according to 17:3, because (abundant) eternal life is defined as knowing (being in relationship with) the Father and the Son. The only way to gain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is through the Son (cf. 14:6). Although some have pointed to the use of know (γινώσκω, ginwskw) here as evidence of Gnostic influence in the Fourth Gospel, there is a crucial difference: For John this knowledge is not intellectual, but relational. It involves being in relationship.
3 tn Or “and Jesus the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).
4 tn Or “made known,” “disclosed.”
5 tn Here “men” is retained as a translation for ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") rather than the more generic “people” because in context it specifically refers to the eleven men Jesus had chosen as apostles (Judas had already departed, John 13:30). If one understands the referent here to be the broader group of Jesus’ followers that included both men and women, a translation like “to the people” should be used here instead.
6 tn Grk “Yours they were.”
7 tn Or “have kept.”