Daily Reading for June 5 • The Seventh Sunday of Easter: The Sunday after Ascension Day
In what does eternal life consist? His own words tell us: “That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” Is there any doubt or difficulty here, or any inconsistency? It is life to know the true God. But the bare knowledge of him does not give life. What then, does he add? “And Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In you, the only true God, the Son pays the honor due to his Father. By the addition “and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” he associates himself with the true Godhead. The believer in his confession draws no line between the two, for his hope of life rests in both. And indeed, the true God is inseparable from him whose name follows in the creed. Therefore when we read, “That they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent,” these terms of sender and of sent are not intended, under any semblance of distinction either in name or interval [of time], to convey a difference between the true Godhead of Father and of Son. Rather, they are meant to be a guide to the devout confession of them as begetter and begotten.
From On the Trinity by Hilary of Poitiers, quoted in Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: New Testament IVb, John 11-21, edited by Joel C. Elowsky (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2007).