Today, we begin going through 1 John. There are 3 different scriptures that you will read today that tell us who Jesus is. Read those verses slowly. Absorb what they say; they make such a huge difference in our lives.
1 John 1: 1 – 4 NLT
1 We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. 2 This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. (Or so that our joy may be complete NASB)
Before I begin these devotions in 1 John, I have to give credit for many of my ideas to Charles R. Swindoll in his New Testament commentary, Living Insights, as well as from reading the Intervarsity Press online commentary before I begin writing. So, what I write is a combination of what I think about after reading the verses, and then what I read in those commentaries.
John begins by saying Jesus was “the one who existed from the beginning” and was “the Word of life”. This truth that Jesus is God, that he created life on this planet, that he is the source of all life both here and in eternity is so crucial to our faith. Sometimes I think after reading about Jesus’ life on earth in the gospels, we focus on his humanity and forget who he really is. Remember these verses from Colossians?
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (Colossians 1: 15 – 20)
John stresses this idea as he begins 1 John. He stressed it as well when he began the Gospel of John.
“In the beginning the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.
3 God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
4 The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
5 The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1: 1 – 4)
In his epistle, John goes on to tell us that he, along with the disciples, “saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands”. And he repeats that idea two more times: “This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him”, and “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard.” John wants us to know that he is telling the truth. He is not making up some crazy mythical story. Jesus is real. I find it exciting that John indicates that we can share in knowing this God. “We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” John doesn’t have an exclusive relationship with Jesus because he actually saw him. We have that relationship with Jesus too.
Do you ever stop and think about your relationship with God? Jesus is God. Jesus is the Word of life. He only has to speak and life begins. And yet we can have a personal relationship with this God. No wonder John states, “These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete”. The word, joy, used here isn’t about being happy about getting an income tax refund, or seeing a great movie, or having a good time with friends. It’s about a deep sense of knowing life is worthwhile, that God is in control and that we are his children.
In our chaotic world today, these facts stated in 1 John 1 are calming words. We need to stop and reflect on who God is. We don’t have to panic about what is happening in our world. We belong to a God who has infinite power and who loves us more than we can comprehend. Amid all the craziness of Covid 19, we can know we are secure in God’s hands.
Psalm 4:8 NLT
“In peace I will both lie down and sleep, For You alone, O Lord, make me to dwell in safety.”
Our song for today is How Great is Our God by Chris Tomlin