Summary: 1 John 1:1-4. Jesus Christ is the foundation for our relationship with God and our relationships with other people.
- In the third and fourth century a man named Arius posited the idea (though he was not the first) that Jesus was not eternal, he was a created being of God the Father. And Arianism, as it is labeled, still exists today. Of course, many go further and not only posit that Jesus is not equal with God but was no different from any other human being. He was just a man.
- Even as early as when this letter was written, between 90-100 A.D., it is apparent that John is combating the idea that Jesus was a mere mortal. He describes him as that which was from the beginning; not that which was created in the beginning – when the beginning of creation happened, he already was.
- The deity of Jesus is so important to lasting Christian joy. Our faith will be dysfunctional if we fail to take into account our Lord's divinity. By that I mean that we don't simply mentally acknowledge his deity, which most, if not all of us would do; but that we understand what his divinity means in terms of his relationship with us, his people.
- We do not worship a mere man. We do not pray to a mere man. We do not share a message conjured up by a mere man. We are not giving up our lives in order to follow a mere man. We are following the Son of God, who is equal in every way with the Father.
- So when a life threatening disease strikes us or someone we love, and we fall to our knees and call on Jesus' name, asking for his healing touch even though the doctors say recovery is a long shot, we know we are praying to the Son of God, who banished disease from Palestine during his earthly ministry. That gives us hope when the world sees no reason for hope.
- Or when healing doesn't come and death is seemingly victorious, we know we serve the Son of God, who gives us eternal life because he stepped out of his grave and conquered death once and for all. And that hope, that victory translates into every area of our lives. Whenever trouble comes, we know Christ is our refuge; and Christ is no mere man, he is the risen Son of the living God.
- Well, the other important truth contained here, as in the Johannine gospel, is the true humanity of Jesus. So secondly, we need to notice that:
[OUR JOY IS COMPLETE WHEN WE UNDERSTAND JESUS' HUMANITY]
- John says that what was from the beginning has now been heard, seen with their own eyes, looked upon and touched with their own hands. Here again John is combating a heresy that was prevalent in the early church – the idea that Jesus only appeared to be human. I've mentioned it before, it's called Docetism, and it was based upon the Gnostic idea that matter is evil. Since matter is evil and Jesus is good, it is obvious that Jesus could not have really had a physical body.
- But John says “No. I heard his voice. I watched him walk, talk, eat, and drink. I saw him when he was on the cross, bleeding and suffocating and crying out in pain. I touched his wounds when he appeared to us after his resurrection. Don't tell me Jesus wasn't a real human.”