CHAPTER 1: GOD IS LIGHT
We’re going to do a verse-by-verse exposition of 1st John and unfold “the message of life” as we work through all of John’s 105 verses.
VERSE 1: THE BEGINNING
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have observed and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—
The testimony of the apostles about Jesus did not come from second-hand tradition; it came from their personal experience with the one and only Son of God.
They heard the living Son of God speak with their own ears. And they saw him heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons, curse fruit trees, walk on water, calm the storms; they saw him transfigured on the mount, standing in all his glory accompanied by Moses and Elijah; most of all, they saw the crucified Lord raised from the tomb by the power of the Holy Spirit!
The apostles were eyewitnesses of the Son of God, commissioned to deliver his testimony to the world:
John 15:26-27 (CSB) When the Counselor comes, the one I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father—he will testify about me. 27 You also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning.
Luke 1:1-2 (CSB) Many have undertaken to compile a narrative about the events that have been fulfilled among us, 2 just as the original eyewitnesses and servants of the word handed them down to us.
The apostles were unique witnesses of Christ in that they not only personally witnessed the Risen Lord, but were given the Holy Spirit to confirm the message of the gospel with many signs and wonders:
Acts 2:43 (CSB) Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles.
Hebrews 2:2-4 (CSB) For if the message spoken through angels was legally binding, and every transgression and disobedience received a just punishment, 3 how will we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? This salvation had its beginning when it was spoken of by the Lord, and it was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 At the same time, God also testified by signs and wonders, various miracles, and distributions of gifts from the Holy Spirit according to his will.
But the apostle has something specific in mind when he says “what was from the beginning”:
John 1:1-2 (CSB) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning.
John knew Jesus was the eternal wisdom of God incarnate. Jesus is the message of God that intimately explained God to the whole world in ways that were previously hidden from all mankind. For John, he was not only a witness to “who”, but also to “what” – Jesus, the Word of Life.
This word of life carries throughout the apostle’s first epistle:
1st John 2:24 (CSB) What you have heard from the beginning is to remain in you. If what you have heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
1st John 3:11 (CSB) For this is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another
The message of Christ is to live within us, and if the wisdom of God lives within us, then we remain in the body of God the Father.
John 8:24-25 (CSB) Therefore I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.” 25 “Who are you?” they questioned. “Exactly what I’ve been telling you from the very beginning,” Jesus told them.
From the very beginning, Jesus told them who he was, but they could not accept that Jesus was God incarnate. Jesus manifested the living love of God to the world in the radiant light that they could not see because of the darkness of their hearts. But thanks be to God that through Jesus the blind can see.
John is testifying of the living word of God.