1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
(1 John 1:1-4 NIV)
As we begin our adventure through John’s first epistle to the churches in Asia Minor, we see John skipping the normal salutations and introductions. John was the last living apostle, advanced in years, with a message to share.
John’s message was clear – Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah. John was not having a debate, he was not discussing theoretical physics, economics, or even religion, politics, or morality.
John was giving an eye-witness account of Jesus Christ. John’s testimony was specific – he had seen Jesus and spent time with Him. John had walked and talked with Jesus, had adventures and stories with Jesus, and had shared meals and other life events with Jesus, both public and in private small groups.
And John’s conclusion? Jesus is who He said He is.
John is not offering a marketing program or an ad campaign for Jesus. John is not trying to garner members on social media or get folks to join a “members only” club or group. John is simply stating his first-hand testimony and his belief in Jesus as God and Messiah with no apologies.
John is saying, “This is what I believe, based not on argument or conjecture, but on personal first-hand experience with Jesus when He was here living among us. I am telling you what I have seen and heard, so that you may join in our fellowship.”
How does John present his beliefs – as cold, clinical facts, as an impassioned plea, or as a dictatorial demand? Actually none of the above. John presents his beliefs as a relational invitation to join him and others in following Christ. In verse 4, John says that joining him and others in following Christ will make his joy complete.
As we consider who Jesus is, may we not be caught up in facts, figures, historical records, or any other important information. Jesus offers us an eternal relationship with God through His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead. May we have John’s pastoral heart and care enough for others that we invite them to follow Christ with us. As we think about sharing the Gospel, may we remember John’s words – that we are not sharing a “what”, but a “whom”.
And like John, following Jesus and sharing Him with others brings us joy.