When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (Jn 17:1-5)
Jesus enters the hour that has now come with prayer. He knows what waits ahead of him, what the hour brings. Jesus will now glorify the Father by giving eternal life to all that are his, dying on the cross and rising from the dead on the third day, to reveal the Father, the only true God and Jesus Christ, that we might know them. This is eternal life, knowing the Father, the only true God and Jesus Christ. To know. This is a wonderful expression. Knowledge and faith go hand in hand. But it isn’t a mere head knowledge, rather it is knowing the way you know a father or a mother, a dear friend.
There are plenty of people who know of God. Knowledge of God is hard to escape. Atheists try and become frustrated and angry in their attempts. They are reminded of God and convicted of their own sin every time the thought comes to their head that the world should not be this way. Injustice is a reminder in that way, that final justice will come. But this is what scares so many from knowing God. With knowledge of God comes an unrighteous fear of God that makes one try to run and hide from God.
So yes, as Romans 1 tells us, God is revealed in his creation. He is revealed in nature, his works manifest his glory in a way. It’s hard to take a walk through the Twisted Forest, or a drive down Highway Twelve, a tour through Nine Mile Canyon, or look over the edge of the Grand Canyon, and not be reminded of God’s glory. But there is always a reminder that this is but a shadow of former glory. And that this world is broken and heading for destruction. And this can seriously ruin a person’s enjoyment of the world, to think that the person behind it all, and so powerful could be angry with you.
But then that is the reason Jesus came. He manifests the glory of God in another way, through sacrifice and forgiveness. He reveals the one true God as someone who desires not the death of the wicked but that they would repent. His son he sends to take our place in death, that our relationship with God would be restored, and we would know him, and knowing him learn to once again enjoy this wonderful creation that he has given us, knowing that not only is it but a shadow of former glory, but now in his Son who sanctified this world with his blood, it is but a foreshadow of glory to come.