Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jesus… in Person, in the Flesh

“We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life…”
–1 John 1:1 (NRSV).

The initial verse is the jumping off point, uncharacteristic of the typical Pauline letter featuring the typical greeting. Instead, John wants us to know that Jesus was a real person, and in the same breath, God. He knew him, heard him, saw him, touched him.

John, the disciple Jesus loved most, was emphatic about his Lord. He describes with power the basis of Jesus being the Deity through his gospel; and the message contained in 1 John (the letter) is somewhat like Hebrews as John tries to mix doctrine with practical living exhortations.[1]

Imagine painting this image of Jesus and the nature of his faith to these errant believers in an age where false doctrine was rife. That mightn’t be so hard to imagine because it would be no different today really. John the evangel speaks God-breathed words and sentences, beginning at the beginning at the rawest of facts. ‘He lived... (God in) Jesus lived with us,’ he says.

The ‘Word of life’[2] is both Jesus and the gospel teaching method and message.[3] John uses the same technique for describing Jesus and his teaching in his gospel, in fact, no less than four times in the first fourteen verses. The ‘Word of life’ was ... i.e. in existence, before anything else was; in other words, before Creation.

These simple facts brought to us in the very first verse of this ancient letter describe something we should be in an ‘astonished awe’ about, as A.W. Tozer might have put it. Undeniable, inscrutable, uncontainable… and more!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
[1] It is perhaps not surprising that John probably writes this letter for exactly the same purpose as the writer of Hebrews did; they both cover the same sort of era--a generation or so after Christ’s death when commitment generally was waning.
[2] The word “Word” is capitalised in the NIV and some other versions.
[3] John Calvin & Matthew Henry, 1, 2, 3 John, Eds. Alister McGrath and J.I. Packer (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1998), p. 17.

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