Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Devotional Help: 1 John 1.1-4

John 1.1-4
1What was from the beginning, what we’ve heard, what we’ve seen with our eyes, what we’ve looked and our hands have touched about the message of the life—2and the life was revealed, and we’ve seen it and we’re affirming and announcing to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was revealed to us—3what we’ve see and heard, we’re announcing also to you, so that you also can have a share with us. But also our sharing with the Father and with His Son Jesus the Messiah. 4And we’re writing these things, so that our happiness would be filled up.


1. There is such a focus on the physical dimension of what John is reporting. He uses words for seeing 4x, words for hearing 2x, a word for touching the message 1 time. He seems to be trying to tell us and remind that he and the other apostles really did see and hear and even touch Jesus while He was here on earth. I think for myself, that it is so easy to forget how really real and physical Jesus was and is. Jesus is a man today, and has been one ever since He became a baby boy. Sometimes, I think of Jesus in a way that is too much like how I think about an idea. Sometimes we talk about Him like He is some ethereal being without a body, just some abstract floating soul we kind of know. But John is telling us that He is more than that. He is a man, I one point in human history you and I could see him, we could listen to His audible voice, his vocal cords would rattle the air and send the vibrations to our ears. If we had lived when John had lived in Israel, maybe we could have even touched Him, hugged Him, shook His hand, even rough housed with Him. Jesus is more than an idea, He is a Man, a Person with skin and bones! Ultimately, this message from is key to the Gospel message (v.2) and key to having a sharing of life with God the Father and Jesus the Messiah, the Father's Son. Our eternal life is bound up with knowing and believing that Jesus is really real, that He is Human, with a real body! Ultimately, this helps us interact with Him as a true person and not explicitly or implicitly deny what made us possible to have a relationship with God the Father, Jesus' incarnation, death, and resurrection! But since He is still physical, but not now on earth, there is a hope implied that one day we will see, hear, and touch Him again! 

2. Theologically, John makes a profound association in vv.1-2, and then again in vv.2-3. The first is that the life that is in the message of life is the life revealed by God, and it is life that was seen. This means that John is not talking about life as some abstract concept, but about a living being that can be see, and this life is called eternal life. It is eternal because this life I think is in view when John writes "what was from the beginning [of time]," i.e. Jesus. Jesus is Life, and He is Eternal Life, because He lives forever. That is to say, that the eternal life that John is affirming and announcing to us is not something abstract, but actually Jesus the Messiah Who lives forever, Who is Eternal Life. This is made even clearer, because John says This Life was with the Father, which is a way of affirming that Jesus is God, that He is in relationship with God, that is that This Life has to be a person.  But that means that in v.3 just as in v.1 and v.2 the thing that is being seen and heard and reported is not the message about how to live forever, per se, but Jesus Himself, and that if we have Jesus and believe the message about Him, we get have a share of Jesus, and Jesus is the Life, which means that we live forever, because we have Eternal Life, which we have because we are with THE ETERNAL LIFE, JESUS THE MESSIAH! Dude, it's epic! Our eternal life cannot be thought about as something abstract that we can have apart from Jesus, but is another way of saying that we have Jesus Himself and share in all that He is, which is Life, which means that we can live forever. In a way, to overstate it, eternal life is not something we have, its something we share, because really all we have is Jesus, but having Him enables us to share in all that He is! My mind is so blown by how much our life is connect to Jesus! Jesus is ETERNAL LIFE! And since Jesus is with the Father, our sharing in Jesus gives us a share of the Father! That is what we share! We don't just have a share in a message, but a share in God the Holy Trinity as a whole via the Person of Jesus the Messiah! 

3. Lastly, this message, John wrote so that the apostles could be happy. This means, and I can say it's true as a pastor, that seeing fellow Christians truly enjoying all that Jesus the Messiah is and connects them to, that is truly enjoying their new life, is a huge blessing that makes us happy. This means one way I can give joy to others is by being a more mature Christian that embraces more and more of the Life that Jesus is for us! But I can also combat discouragement or sorrow by thinking of how my brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing Eternal Life in Jesus, and how that Eternal Life is growing into their lives! I can also be fueled to be happy by seeing people trusting in Christ Jesus for eternal life, but that probably means I will need to be actively trying to bring the message of Eternal Life, i.e. Jesus to people who don't yet have Him. 

Abba, thanks for refreshing my soul with Your Word today. It was great! You blew my mind! The reality of Jesus and His being human is so much fresher and sharper in my soul! Forgive me for thinking too conceptually and not honoring all that Christ is in my heart all the time! The theological insight into the true nature of Eternal Life, which in some ways I already knew, You made come alive to me! It rocks! What is eternal life, it is not an abstract reality or a state of being, rather it is Jesus the Messiah and all that He is and having a share in Him! O Lord, make my happiness complete both by using me to reach unbelievers with the Message of Life, but also by helping my fellow believers to grow up in their relationship with You through Christ! Finally, Abba, please grow me up, so that my Eternal Life in Jesus can give joy to my brothers and sisters in Christ! In Jesus' Name, by Your Spirit I pray for Your glory, Amen. 

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