“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—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.” (1 John 1:1-2)
The Apostle John—the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (Jn. 13:23)—starts off the epistle bearing his name with some compelling words. John is pulling no punches with the first two verses.
Without hesitation, John is proclaiming that not only is Jesus the “word of life” but that His whole life was played out before their eyes. He does this in similar fashion, as the gospel that bears his name cuts to the chase as well.
My aim here is to help us think over what John is saying. What is he saying in these two verses?
That Which Was From The Beginning
The first part of verse one mirrors the first verse of the gospel of John, which says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God” (Jn. 1:1-2).
John’s point in both passages is this: Jesus—the Son of God, God in the flesh—has always existed. There never was a time when Jesus wasn’t; He always was. He is “one with the father” (Jn. 10:30). He is God in human form. He was in the beginning before creation. He did the creating (Col. 1:16). He is God.
Heard, Seen, and Touched
Jesus’s ministry was in the public. One of my pastors, when talking about cults and how they all originated in private, said the life and ministry was just the opposite:
- Born in public
- Lived in the public eye
- Did ministry in public
- Died in public
- Resurrected in public
All of Jesus’s life—from His birth, death, to resurrection—was in the public eye. There were always witnesses.
At his birth, many people were there.
During his entire life, thousands upon thousands of people watched him go to and fro and asked for His opinions and blessing.
His ministry was seen by the multitudes and many people were eager to watch Him perform miracles.
He died on a cross while many, many people watched Him gasp for breath and forgive His enemies.
In His resurrected body, He appeared to many people, even 500 at one time (1 Cor. 15:6).
In short, He was heard, seen, and touched.
We do not serve a privatized Savior. Jesus did not do ministry in secret. There was no denying His life, death, and resurrection. All His life was public. Why? So that people could attest to it.
Even Paul, when speaking about His resurrection, basically said this: “Look, He appeared to over 500 people in His resurrection. Most of them are still alive. Go ask them yourself” (my paraphrase of 1 Cor. 5:16).
The resurrection of Jesus—and all His other miracles—are not believed blindly. We have reason to believe that Jesus was born, that He lived, died, and resurrected three days later. It happened in front of their eyes. We do not have a blind faith.
So, now what?
Concerning the Word of Life
In 1 Corinthians 15:17, the Apostle Paul is talking about the resurrection and says, “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”
John MacArthur echoes these Holy-Spirit-inspired words by saying:
“If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain, your faith in Him would be pointless and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of spiritual life.”
The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the bedrock of the Christian faith. If He did not resurrect, then we’d be headed for Hell. But, thankfully, He did resurrect.
The Christian faith is centered around the life, death, and resurrection.
Jesus, God incarnate, was born as a helpless baby, lived a sinless life (Heb. 4:15), died a sinner’s death (1 Pet. 3:18), was resurrected three days later for our justification (Rom. 4:25), and is now seated at the right hand of God (Eph. 1:20) and is forever interceding for Christians (Heb. 7:25).
This is the beautiful, redemptive story that God decreed, and He has put us in it. We sinned and rebelled against God, “…but God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved…” (Eph. 2:4-5).
Soli Deo Gloria