“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled concerning the Word of life.”—1 John 1:1 (NKJV)
As John starts to compose his first epistle, he makes something very clear right from the get-go. When it comes to the Word of Life, which is another way of referring to Jesus, John believed He was absolutely, totally, completely, one-hundred percent real!
Jesus was not a phantom. He wasn’t an immaterial ghost that intermittently popped in and out of earth. Nor was He some sort of figurative ideal or the personification of a set of beliefs that other people had (as many allege today).
According to John, one of the closest and most reliable witnesses of Christ’s life, He was a person who spoke and was heard. He was someone who existed and was seen. He was tangible and was touched. He left footprints, fingerprints, and cast a shadow. Jesus was every bit flesh and blood as any other human.
Of course, He was much more than this. He was (and is) the eternal and everlasting Son of God, every bit divine in nature as the Father and Holy Spirit. Which is why John is also able to say that Jesus was “from the beginning.” His eternal existence proceeded all things.
Jesus was alive and well before He was born into this world roughly two thousand years ago. He ruled alongside the Father from Heaven’s throne. But then the most significant thing happened: “Concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:1-2 NKJV).
The Word of Life was “manifested.” That means He was “made clear and apparent to the eye.” God’s Son wasn’t concealing anything. He became a flesh and blood, living and breathing human being like the rest of us. The Creator of all things from the beginning stepped into His creation by taking upon Himself a physical body—allowing Him to walk, talk, and interact with humanity.
John was witness to all of this. And before he begins to unpack what Jesus taught and represents, he wants us to understand it’s all rooted in reality. Why? Because we need to know our faith is based on something real and not imagined. The life of Christ is God’s way of planting His flag and staking His claim on humanity’s redemption—and it runs as deep as humanity itself.
DIG: What does John want us to be clear on from the get-go?
DISCOVER: Why is this so important? How does this affect your faith?
DO: Thank the Lord today for His revelation to us through the Word.