…that 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 1:3 ESV
John had enjoyed an intimate, eye-witness relationship with Jesus. He had listened to Him teach and preach. He had watched Him heal and even raise Lazarus from the dead. He had stood with Mary, the mother of Jesus, at the foot of the cross on which Jesus was being crucified, and heard Him say, “Behold, your mother.” From that day on, John would take Mary into his home and care for her. John was close to Jesus. He loved the Lord and was loved by Him. But what John was proclaiming in the opening verses of First John was far more than a knowledge about Jesus the man. He was proclaiming the truth regarding Jesus, the God-Man. The entire letter of First John is based on the foundational principle and reality regarding the incarnation of Jesus. John was not just giving an historical, eye-witness account of Jesus’ birth, life and death. He was proclaiming His deity and His role as the spotless sacrifice for the sins of mankind. There were those in John’s day who denied the deity of Christ. They rejected the idea that He was God come in the flesh. As we will see later on in John’s letter, these people claimed to be Christians and bragged of having a relationship with God, but they denied the Christ. Many viewed themselves as sinless and therefore, in no need of a Savior. But John will make it clear that fellowship with God is impossible without acceptance of His Son as Savior. John had heard Jesus Himself boldly claim, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 ESV). Jesus was NOT just a good man attempting to live a morally exemplary life. He wasn’t just another martyr who had sacrificed His life for a good cause. What John was proclaiming about Jesus was radical and risky. Jesus was the Son of God and through Him and Him alone, man could enjoy a restored relationship with God.
Jesus had told His disciples, “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves” (John 14:10-11 ESV). What John is proclaiming in these opening verses is unbelievable. It sounds more like fantasy than reality. But John believed it whole-heartedly. He proclaimed it boldly and without apology. Because of who Jesus was and what He did, men can be restored to a right relationship with God. They can enjoy fellowship with the God of the universe. The apostle Paul reminds us, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 ESV). But there’s more. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11 ESV). We have been reconciled, made right with God. Which is what allows us to enjoy fellowship with one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. Which should produce in us a joy that is full and complete, lacking in nothing. Jesus Christ, the word of life who gave life to creation, is also the eternal life, God Himself. The Son of God took on human flesh and then took on the sins of man. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV). John was proclaiming what God had long ago prophesied. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 ESV). It was Jesus’ deity that made possible His sinlessness. It was His humanity that made Him an appropriate sacrifice. It was His death that paid for our sins. It was His resurrection that proved He was who He claimed to be: the sole source of eternal life. Now that is something worth proclaiming.