“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:1-4
As Christmas has come and gone and we quickly move on to New Years, I’m reading through 1 John which is a very Christ-centered letter. As a means to introduction, here is an excerpt from Biblica.com:
“The author is John son of Zebedee (see Mk 1:19–20)—the apostle and the author of the Gospel of John and Revelation (see Introductions to both books: Author). He was a fisherman, one of Jesus’ inner circle (together with James and Peter), and “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (Jn 13:23; see note there). He may have been a first cousin of Jesus (his mother may have been Salome, possibly a sister of Mary; cf. Mt 27:56; Mk 15:40 and note; 16:1; Jn 19:25—this view assumes that ”his mother’s sister” in Jn 19:25 refers to Salome; some further assume that ”Mary the wife of Clopas” there stands in apposition to “his mother’s sister,” which would mean that this Mary and Salome were one and the same person).“ [https://www.biblica.com/resources/scholar-notes/niv-study-bible/intro-to-1-john/]
Some scholars suggest this was written to believers in Ephesus. It’s an eye-witness account from one of the disciples of Jesus who also wrote the Gospel and personally, one of my favorite characters in the Bible.
John begins with evidence of this eye-witness account of Jesus — “which we have heard….which we have seen with our eyes…which we have looked at and hands have touched.” In other words, “we have heard Jesus, seen him and touched him…we have been with Jesus and experienced all of who he is while on this earth in ministry in Galilee and beyond,” (my interpretation).
John was as there with Jesus. Period. There is no second hand reporting or hearsay. This is a letter written by one who for three years was in the Presence of the Master. And his words, life, testimony and report stems from that world view of personally knowing, loving and following Jesus.
So when we read his account, we should do so with a longing to know Jesus as John knew him. That we might also use the words of this disciple who proclaimed the “Word of life.” This life “appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” John is all in. He is convinced that Jesus is who he said he was — the “Word of life.”
But John hasn’t received the Word only to keep it hidden, he is sharing it with others. In these four verses alone he uses the word “proclaim” three times. He proclaims the “Word of life,” the “eternal life” and what “we have seen and heard.” And reminds us that his “fellowship is with the Father and with the Son, Jesus Christ”— i.e., the two are one and this fellowship makes his “joy complete.”
Now we all don’t have to have the same experience as John, but if we are not enjoying a hint of this joy, of the desire to proclaim the good news, or the blessing of walking with God, then maybe we need to reexamine our relationship with the Father. As I wrote leading up to the birth of the Son in “Preparing for Christmas,” we are to receive him wholeheartedly and expectantly as the coming Messiah. Our lives should reflect the Presence of Jesus among us.
What are you waiting for? Why not embrace God the Son, proclaim his goodness and walk in his grace? Resist the snares of the evil one and cling to the Word of life who can make your joy complete.
“O Lord God, thank you for John. Thank you for loving us and for allowing us to walk in your grace. I praise you Lord for your kindness and for allowing us to know the truth of your love. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen