walk in the word
1That 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— 2the 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—3that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. —1 John 1:1-3
Here’s how we summarize mark four of an authentic Christian: We know completely. Or to put it another way, I must have a personal experience with Jesus Christ. Please read the Scripture above again.
Notice how the that he opens with is really a who—Jesus. No greeting; no, “Hey, how are you?” First John is like the Gospel of John. He’s brimming with enthusiasm for Jesus! The pen touches the parchment and BAM! Jesus! That’s how I feel sometimes when I get up to preach: forget the preliminaries; let’s get to the main event—Jesus!
Leading into verse 2 John says, “Concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest. . . ” Manifest means before you couldn’t see it and then, whoa, out it comes! It means what couldn’t be seen or known is suddenly seen and known. In the Old Testament, it was fire, smoke, darkness, and a mighty voice that answered the question: “Who is God?” The response was fear. Then in the New Testament, all the glory of the loving God is made known; Jesus did that. “The word of life. . . was made manifest, and we have seen it,” is the personal experience. Then, “and testify to it.” We’re telling other people about it. In fact, we’re not just telling them, we “proclaim,” meaning, to lift up your voice with urgency. We “proclaim to you the eternal life.” And eternal life is also a person (John 17:3), “which was with the Father.” That’s Jesus. He “was with the Father,” one with the Father, “and was made manifest to us.” He was made known to us. This is not just factual knowing; this is personal, intimate, relational knowing.
I must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. That is one of the marks of an authentic Christian. You’ve got to have relational experience. Your mom’s story is not going to make it. Going to a good church won’t cut it with God. You have to have your own relationship where you know Him more and more completely. That’s what John’s saying here. “Look! We heard Him. We saw Him. We touched Him. It was real and personal to me. I’m telling you it can be as real for you.”
Prayer-Father, You did not have to manifest Yourself to us and yet You have offered us multiple clues about Yourself in all that You have created, including us. And then You topped it all by manifesting Yourself in Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the privilege of really knowing You and the challenge and delight of growing into that knowing every day of our lives. We can do this because of Jesus, and in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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