Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1 John 1:1-4 (study part 1)

1 John 1:1-4
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was  manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.


John begins this epistle with an introduction. Unlike Paul and James, John does not start the epistle by confirming his identity and telling his name, but rather, jumps right in and starts talking about Christ and the apostle's relationship to Him and how they really were "eyewitnesses of His majesty". 

"That which was from the beginning..." - He begins describing Christ with this phrase. John makes it clear by doing this that Jesus Christ was/is indeed God. He seems to be referring back to John 1:1 which says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Jesus Christ is the Word, and is therefore God, and was in the beginning. He is eternal and immortal, higher and more powerful than any other being, for He created all other beings. Before all else, was God.

"...Which we have heard..." - John states here that they heard Jesus. Looking back at the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John),  we can see many times where Jesus verbally taught and spoke with His disciples, the Jewish leaders, and the people. According to John 20:31, Jesus did many other signs and wonders which were not written down, this more than likely also refers to other things that Jesus said and taught that were not written down. Matthew 5:2 - "...and He opened His mouth, and taught them (the disciples) saying..." Jesus taught the disciples many things verbally.

"...Which we have seen with our eyes..." - Not only did Jesus teach His disciples verbally, but the disciples also learned by seeing what Jesus did. For example, the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus' disciples got to see Him multiply a tiny bit of food into enough for thousands of people right before their very eyes. It was the same with all His other miracles, too. They were "eyewitnesses of His majesty".

"...Which we have looked upon..." - The disciples gazed in utter wonder at their Lord. And as time went on, they respected, honored, worshiped, and glorified Him more and more as they learned more about who He is. Multiple times in the first four New Testament books, we read the disciples saying that He truly was the Son of God. They already knew this, but the more it was reinforced, the more clear it became.

"...And our hands have handled..." - The disciples not only heard and saw Jesus, but they touched Him. After His resurrection, the disciples might have touched Jesus' wrists, feet, and side. Before His death they probably touched Him in other ways, although the Bible does not mention an occurrence such as this, we can guess this simply because it is something all humans do. Whether its a hug, a tap on the shoulder, or the like, we all touch each other. The disciples touched Jesus, they knew he was physically there. What a comfort. Now the Holy Spirit is our Comforter, and although we can't physically touch Him, He is always right there beside every believer.

"...Of the Word of life..." - He was (and is) the Word. He proclaimed the words of life, that He was the Only Way that they might have life eternal. Referring back to John 1:1-2, we see that there also, He is referred to as the Word. Going down a few verses we see that the word had "life, and that life was the light of men." This Word, if He had not conquered death and rose again, could not have been called the "Word of life"; but because He did, He gave us proof both of His identity, and power. He that giveth life, must be alive himself. He truly is the "resurrection and the life" and he who believes in Him will never die.

How great it would have been to have walked and talked with Jesus, we may think to ourselves, to see Him and touch Him...But we can. We forget how, because of His death and resurrection, we can indeed walk and talk with Him whenever we want to - in prayer and in the reading of His word. May we never forget how blessed we are to be able to walk and talk with the Saviour!

In Christ our Rock,

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