April 27, 2020
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.
In this opening verse, John—one of the 12 disciples—is talking about Jesus. His use of “Word” and “life” is reminiscent of the opening to the gospel he wrote, where he says:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.
One of the main differences between these two passages is that in the beginning of the letter, John is referring to something he could not have observed: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit existing as one and creating the world. In his first letter, however, he starts by saying that he has first-person experience with Jesus and the eternal life he brings. John says he has heard, seen and touched evidence of what he testifies.
There’s a reason news stories are always looking for an eyewitness. Few things are as compelling as a story told from the perspective of someone who was actually there and experienced it firsthand. The same power is available to you and I when we share the story of Jesus. We can talk of our own transformation, the things we have seen God do, and the way our life is different with Jesus than without. Yet often we revert to theoretical conversations of sin, suffering, and redemption. Why do we do this, do you think? Maybe it’s because we don’t want to be transparent about the transformation we’ve experienced. Maybe we don’t feel transformed enough to hold our lives up as an example of God’s power. Or maybe we have a hard time remembering the last time we heard, saw, or touched a real example of the change Jesus can make.
What parts of the gospel have you heard, seen, and touched lately? What have you seen God do firsthand? If the list is short or nonexistent, pray to have your eyes opened. Pray to be a part of God’s story this week. If things easily come to mind, look for opportunities (as we will talk about on Wednesday) to share the good news you have experienced.