VERSE 2: WE TESTIFY
that life was revealed, and we have seen it and we testify and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—
This may feel redundant, but John uses the literary device of repetition emphasize his cornerstone points: here, John is rendering apostolic declaration regarding that which he personally saw and experienced!
What is John emphasizing?
“Life”: He uses repetition to emphasize life – the last word of v 1 – by repeating it three times in three lines:
– John has heard, seen, and experienced the word of life
– That life was manifested to him
– He has seen, testified, and proclaimed the eternal life that came from the Father
John’s epistle is about life, but not just in general terms. John’s epistle is about the manifest life of Christ that has appeared from the Father.
The life itself has been manifested in flesh, so that what can be seen by the heart alone might be seen also by the eyes, in order that hearts might be healed.
The eternal life of God was physically present with John. This was not simply a vision given to him by heaven, as the prophets of old had received heavenly visions from God; John personally saw and experienced the Divine life.
Bede the Venerable, (c. 672–735) who was born in Northumbria and was put under the care of the Benedictine monks of Saints Peter and Paul at Jarrow when he was 7 years old, wrote the following:
The life of which John is speaking here was the same as that of which we read in his Gospel, when Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ It was manifested and declared in the flesh by the divine miracles, and the disciples who were present saw and later testified to them with undoubted authority.
In other words, what John witnessed in Christ was the New Creation that is seen in the resurrection and Spirit-led life! Only Christ is confirmed by the testimony of God with many signs and wonders preordained by the prophets so that we would know Christ was from God.
John 1:4-5 (CSB) In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.