Summary: Satisfying reality is not to be found in things or thrills, but in a Person--Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. This life is what his readers must grasp if they too would have real life. For our faith is not just a "story." It’s based on real eve
1 JOHN 1: 1-4
THE WORD OF LIFE
"Once upon a time...." Remember how exciting those words used to be? They opened the door into an exciting world of make-believe, into a dreamworld that helped you forget all the problems of childhood.
Then--pow! You turned a corner one day, and "Once upon a time" became kid stuff. You discovered that life is a battleground, not a playground, and fairy stories were no longer sustaining. You needed something real.
The search for something real is not new. It has been going on since the beginning of history. Men have looked for reality and satisfaction in wealth, thrills, conquest, power, learning, and even in religion.
There may be nothing really wrong with these experiences, but by themselves they never truly satisfy. Wanting something real and finding something real are two different things. Like a child eating cotton candy at the circus, many people who expect to bite into something real end up with a mouthful of nothing. They waste priceless years on empty substitutes for reality.
So that people would not waste their years the Apostle John’s wrote this letter. He wrote it to you and he wrote it to me. It is a letter of life, light and love. Though written centuries ago its theme, finding the life that is real, is forever up-to-date.
John had discovered that satisfying reality is not to be found in things or thrills, but in a Person--Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.[Warren Wiersbe. Bible Exposition Com. Vol. 2. 1989. Victor Books. Wheaton, IL. P. 474.] It is a message of encouragement and reassurance that Jesus Christ is real and that He gives real life, abundant life, satisfying life, to those who follow Him.
I. SENSING REALITY, 1.
II. SEEING REAL LIFE, 2.
III. FINDING FELLOWSHIP & JOY, 3-4.
Without wasting any time, John immediately jumps into his experience with God’s "living reality" in the first paragraph of his letter. John’s witness springs from the page. Deep convictions undiminished by the passing of the years sprout from his pen as the aged Apostle [70+] writes about the coming of Jesus into the world. These first four verses represent just one sentence in the original Greek, with John fervently repeating the tangible physical experiences he and his friends have had of hearing, seeing, and touching the very life of God Himself, incarnate in Jesus. This life is not wishful thinking, passing hearsay, or even a profound spiritual experience alone, it is real. This life is rooted in a flesh-and-blood human being (John 1:14). This life is what his readers must grasp if they too would have real life. For our faith is not just a "story." It’s based on real events seen and heard by real people about a real person, about the one true God (CIT).
In verse 1 the writer asserts his credentials as an original eyewitness to the truth about God’s Son through continued direct contact with Him. “What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life-
Without any formal greeting [unlike 2 & 3 John] this unspecified letter [not naming the writer or recipient]- or written sermon was/is intended for mass distribution. [It has no personalizing features in its conclusion either.] It simply begins with a relative pronoun translated what (o-neuter gender.) The pronoun references [or introduces] five things [object clauses] concerning the Lord Jesus.
First, He was from the beginning. The emphasis is on the eternal nature of Christ. The verb “was” [from eime- “I am”] means "was already in existence." Jesus was already in existence when the beginning or creation occurred. There never was a time when Jesus was not in existence.
The second reference [objective clause] is what the apostles [and others who had opportunity to know the incarnate Christ] had heard. They heard the divine thoughts of God spoken by a human voice. Those that had ears to hear, heard the voice [and message] of God. They listened and heard His parables, His moral teachings, His anointed prayers, His rebukes, His encouragements, and His blessings. They heard the Word of God. [If you have not heard Him, you do not know Him nor can you speak for Him.]
The third thought referenced by what is, what the eyes have seen. Jesus was not a ghost or phantom. He was flesh and blood and visible as any human. His followers intently, contemplating gazed at Him and what He did. They saw Him raise the death, give sight to the blind, heal the leper, cause the lame to walk, set free the demonized, cleansed the diseased, restore the fallen, and fed the multitudes.
The fourth reference is concerning what they beheld or grasped. To behold or look upon means “to give attention to, to reflect on,” and thus to mentally assimilate. What they perceived with their senses they contemplated upon until God gave them understanding of Jesus’ distinctive significance. John had come to understand the meaning of real life, the abundant life, satisfying life through his long and intimate association with Christ. At first John did not really understand what Jesus did when He shared His life with believers, but as his relationship with Jesus grew he beheld or understood the reality of the abundant life in Christ. Are you growing in your relationship with Jesus so that you are understanding Him and what He is doing better and better?