1 John 1:1-5 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 – 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 – that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.
John begins his epistle with no greeting or salutation. He gets right to the point: Jesus Christ has come to earth. God is not some far distant Being in another universe who has forgotten His people on earth. He sent His Son into the world as our Messiah and Savior.
John begins by stating that Jesus Christ has always existed. Christ was existing before the world was ever created. He was living and has always been living. He possessed life – the energy, the force, the power of life. Jesus did not have a beginning; He was not created. He was with God and was God (John 1:1). Jesus Himself confirmed this in John 17:5: “And now, Father, glorify Me together with yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
Jesus proved Who He was by partaking of human flesh and letting people hear, see, look upon, and handle Him (Heb. 2:14-15). John and the early believers heard Jesus. He became a man and spoke to men. They heard Him teach and share the news that God loves man and that man can be delivered from sin and live forever with God. The early believers didn’t just hear about Jesus – they heard Him speak to them. Jesus actually became a man and the early believers saw Him with their own eyes and in the flesh. John wants us to know that Jesus was not a ghost or spirit. He was real.
John and the early believers looked upon Jesus. This is more than seeing Him with their eyes. The Greek word for “looked upon” (etheasametha) means to gaze and look upon for a long time in order to study and understand and grasp. It means to look intensely and earnestly; to grasp the meaning and significance of a person. A person will never understand Who Jesus is by must glancing at Him. If a person wants to know Christ, he or she has to look intensely and seriously – has to seek to understand. The early believers handled Jesus. The word “handled” (epselaphesan) means more than just touching. It means to grope and grasp after in order to understand; to handle in order to examine closely.
Jesus revealed Who He is – the Word of Life. This means two things. First, Jesus Himself is the Word. A word is the expression of an idea, a thought, an image in the mind of a person. A word describes what’s in the mind of a person. John is saying this: in the life of Jesus, God was speaking to the world, demonstrating just what he wanted to say to mankind. God has given us so much more than mere words in the Scriptures. He’s given us Jesus, The Word. As The Word, Jesus is the picture, the expression, the pattern, the very image of what God wished to say to mankind. Jesus came to earth to show us that the very energy, force, power, and essence of life is in God and God alone. Therefore if a person wants life, he or she must trust and depend upon God for life for life exists only in God.
Second, Jesus Himself is the Word of Life – the very message of the gospel, the good news of life. He is the very embodiment of life, therefore when He came to earth, He brought the Word of life to mankind. In Jesus, the Word tells us how to conquer death and to live abundantly both now and eternally. Verse 2 tells us that he revealed the life to us and that the life is in Him. Jesus came that we might have fellowship with God and with one another. He came that our joy might be full. This is an inner gladness, a deep seated pleasure. It’s a depth of assurance and confidence that ignites a cheerful heart which leads to cheerful behavior.
Jesus’ message consisted of two things: God is light and there is no darkness is God. God is light – He is light by His nature and character. Light is what God is within Himself, within His Being, essence, nature, and character/ He dwells in the splendor, glory and brilliance of light. Wherever he is, light shines out of His being. In fact, there is no need of the sun when God’s glory is present. (Rev. 21:23) God Is light in that he reveals the light of all things, the truth of all things. Jesus, the Light tells us that God is holy, righteous, and pure. Light is the symbol of purity and holiness. It means the absence of darkness and blindness. The light of Christ reveals that god loves and cares for us. His light guides us, allowing us to walk out of darkness. His light does away with darkness and with chaos.
God has not left us to fend for ourselves with nothing but death and the grave to look forward to. He has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ and has shown us that he loves us deeply and wants to fellowship with us. Because the Light of the World has come, we can relate to Him, cast our cares upon Him, trust Him in meeting our needs, ask Him for strength to conquer the trials of life, know that he will give us a life of joy and peace, know that he will deliver us from sin and death, and depend on Him for righteousness so that we can be acceptable to Him, enabling us to spend eternity with Him.