Jesus is the source of eternal life, and the object of eternal life.
John 17:1-3. ..glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life [zoe] to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life [zoe], that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Once again, we have an amazing claim. The life of this human being (Jesus) IS the knowledge of God. This is because the glory of God has been made known in this human life. Jesus manifests the glory of God.
2 Corinthians 4:6. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
To know Jesus is to know God the Father; to have his life is to have God’s life. The Trinity’s life.
Recently we have spent much of our time showing how Jesus claimed to be the source of eternal life – his many claims, his “I Am” statements. But here, in John 17:3, we see him also as the object of eternal life.
Now we are also able to put together the pieces of the puzzle from the Garden of Eden. Jesus is the “Tree of Life,” offering eternal, spiritual, divine life to all who receive. But John 17:3 allows us to see that Jesus is also the true “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” By his life we have the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of God allows us to discern the goodness of God, and thus reject the evil of the world.
When we have the life of Christ given to us freely by grace, we no longer need to fear the knowledge of good and evil. Rather, now that we no longer use this knowledge to earn eternal life, we desire it as the result of knowing God and his true goodness. This knowledge of God, by union with Christ’s life, gives us the knowledge of goodness and evil that can now guide our lives deeper into Christ’s life.