Scripture 1 John 1:1-4
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— 2 this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us— 3 we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
- Who are “we” in verse 1?
- What is the “word of life”? revealed, seen, looked at, touched, eternal — the writer is talking about Jesus
- Their message is what they have heard and seen – they are witnessing to this life
- Fellowship with “them” is rooted in fellowship with the Father and the Son
- This message (the entire letter?) is so that the writers may have complete joy
This introduction suggests a need for a common spiritual experience and understanding to have fellowship that is real. To have fellowship with the writer(s), those receiving this note need to experience this word of life (Jesus) that has been revealed and is now being shared with them.
This common faith experience of Jesus – specifically an experience and understanding witnessed and handed down from those who saw it first – is how we have something in common with others. This common faith allows us to have fellowship that is real both with the Father and with those who follow Jesus. This letter will unpack what that means specifically.
What is striking is the claim in verse 4 – this letter is not so that the recipients might have joy that is complete but the writers. We need to share this word of life that has been revealed to have complete joy. It is not enough to know the truth of Jesus and even to experience this word of life. To have the fullness of joy he promises? We need to share this life. Not surprisingly as he did himself in his self-sacrificial love – seen most in the cross but evidenced and shared throughout his life and ministry.
Father you have revealed your Son, the word of life to me. What I believe and what I have experienced is what they did – the same Lord, the same Gospel, the same love. May I complete my joy in sharing it as they sought to do. Amen.