That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. – 1 John 1:1-4
I have been reminded of the great encounter between Job and God, recorded in Job 38 and following. After God spoke “man to man” with Job, Job responds, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). The idea is this: it’s one thing to hear of God; it’s quite another to experience him in reality. For Job it meant repentance in dust and ashes.
How different it was for the people of Jesus’ day! Their encounter brought a different kind of repentance and faith. The whole of Jesus’ ministry was not so much a stark and stunning comeuppance, as it was a rescue mission. And the encounter between God and man was hidden in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, seen as a young boy in the temple, and encountered along the dusty roads of Galilee.
John was one who heard, touched, saw with his eyes the love of God, the redeemer of lost mankind, and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He will lay out before us these next few chapters the reality of that manifestation and it’s profound implications. His goal is that we have complete, eternal, and profound joy in Jesus.
Friends have experienced death, disease, disaster, and trouble of various kinds in a way that changed their hearts from just knowing about them to a deeper understanding of the power of God, the destructive nature of sin and disease, and the joy and blessing of the prayers of the faithful in their behalf. May God’s Holy Spirit move our hearts to a deeper appreciation of God’s faithfulness, love, salvation, and gift of eternal life through a real encounter with the real Son of God!