I John 1:1-4 (NIV)
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. 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. 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. We write this to make our joy complete.
It’s that time of year again for making resolutions. After I pledge the usuals–exercise more, consume less sugar, read more–I tend to evaluate my relationships and think about how I can improve them. I start with my marriage (He wins almost every game we ever play. And I hate him–just a little–for it. Can this marriage be saved?!) And then I consider how to better relate to my children (Talk less, listen more. Don’t zone out, even when they start talking about their FIFA ultimate teams) before thinking about how I can better love and serve my church family. In this letter, the apostle John calls us to consider our most important relationship–our relationship with God our Father. A relationship that is only possible through the Word of Life.
From the opening descriptions in 1 John, it’s clear that this Word of Life is the incarnate Son of God. It’s Jesus. It is fitting that the God who spoke the world into existence, talked with Adam and Even in the garden, communicated with Moses face to face, and verbalized his plans throughout history through dreams, prophets, and angels would redeem the fallen world and offer eternal life through the Word of Life. Jesus, the fulfillment and the embodiment of all God’s words to humankind, came as a man to speak God’s message of eternal life. And though we haven’t seen, heard, or touched him as John did, we have his words and by them we relate to God our Father and gain eternal life. As we cling to his message–by believing and obeying it–we enjoy an intimate relationship with our Father. Life with God.
As we progress through this letter of I John, we’re going to learn what that life with God looks like.
If you aren’t familiar with Jesus and his message of eternal life, keep reading anyway. You’ll come to see that God sent Jesus to deliver us from our sins. Our sins keep us from God and from the eternal life that is in him. But Jesus paid the penalty for those sins, making it possible for us to come to God without fear and with great joy.