1 John 1:1-4
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 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.
- Verse 1. From the beginning is a substantial statement. This statement reconfirms that Jesus has always been. That Jesus was there at creation and that Jesus is God. Take a look at John 1:1, John 10:30-33, Colossians 2:9, Genesis 1:26. There are many more but these are enough to reveal that Jesus is God and has always been. Why do you think it is important to know that Jesus is God and has always been?
- Jesus was not created by God. What does that say about Jesus and God in light of what Jesus did on earth?
- The disciples heard about Jesus, saw Jesus, and touched Jesus. They are affirming that who Jesus said He was is true. What do you know about Jesus and does your experience confirm this?
- Verse 2 describes Jesus as life. In Genesis, Jesus was there at creation and again on the cross to overcome death through His resurrection. Jesus gives life. How would you describe what Jesus does to someone else?
- Verse 3 says that they proclaim what they have seen and heard so that they may have fellowship. Why is it important for us to tell others about Jesus? What example did Jesus give us to tell others about Him?
- Verse 4 mentions that writing this makes their joy complete. What does this suggest in terms of where joy comes from?
Who we say Jesus is, is very important. Many reject a God whose greatest desire is to torture and punish them. Many find this attitude presented in churches that focus on rules and conformity to a perceived act of sacrifice that is required for salvation. Many experience it when the church condemns all who do not live as they live. Sometimes we present God as the angry God from the Old Testament and Jesus as the nice God from the New Testament who came to keep God from torturing us. Often the Holy Spirit is a side note.
It is very important that as we read the Bible that we incorporate what we know about the Trinity into what we read. I believe that the Bible is evident that God is active in His pursuit of us, but does not force us. I believe that God loved us so much that He came as Jesus to serve the punishment we deserve. Not that God punished Jesus or was angry at Jesus, but that our actions do not warrant eternal life in God’s presence. Jesus came to show us how to live and to reveal that God does not desire for us to be outside of His presence, but that our sins are destroying us. I believe that the Holy Spirit supports us, transforms us, and helps us to become healthy.
I believe that in order to live with God eternally our passions and our desires will be judged. The greatest question of all is do we desire to live obedient to God forever. It means focusing on God’s desires rather than our own. I fear that many who claim Christ do so for their own benefit and shall receive a rude awakening when they discover that their desires will not be rewarded. It is for this reason that our actions do not earn us passage. Rather we act appropriately as a result of our love for God, not as an act of coercion or manipulation.
Take some time to work through how you would describe Jesus and why Jesus is important.