1 John 1:1-10
He Really Was Here with Us
I suppose we might say that we are now over the hump of the Easter season. It might seem a bit anticlimactic to take up another book of Scripture after reading through Revelation, but the remaining epistles of John are prescribed. I think that this is good. After all, though Revelation tells us how things are going to turn out in the end, we are still here in the meantime. We still must live our lives in the here and now, before our Lord’s coming. How then shall we live? The epistles of John are excellent for instructing us in the way, so let us apply our minds to them.
The first four verses are intended to drive home a particular point – emphatically. These verses are repetitive in what they say. What John wants to make clear in this paragraph of some one hundred words is that “the life” was heard, seen, looked upon, touched, and made manifest – with seen, heard, and made manifest repeated again a few lines down. Of course, “the life” is God’s Son, Jesus Christ. John wants us to make no mistake: the Son of God was here on earth and lived a real life. He took our flesh and assumed our humanity. John and the rest of the disciples saw, heard, touched, and lived with him. There were some heretics in that day who were saying that Christ just “seemed” to be among us, that God really could not take our humanity and flesh upon Himself. That would be beneath God. These were called “docetics.”
This isn’t a history lesson. John was not arguing over trivialities. If God has not come in the flesh, then He did not become one of us; if He did not become one of us, then He did not live our life; if He did not live our life, then He did not die in our place and rise for our justification; if He did not die in our place and rise again, then we are yet in our sins; and if we are yet in our sins, then we are lost and without hope in this world. Our faith proclaims that a real God became a real man (while remaining God) and died a real death for our sins. He really rose from the dead (body and soul) and really ascended up into heaven (body and soul, again), and will one day really return on the clouds to gather His Church from all over the earth. And this God who became man is called Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity. And he shall one day really sit (he has a body, remember) on a real throne and really judge the real world. And those who really believe in him and walk according to the truth will be rewarded eternal life in a real heaven. And those who do not shall be rewarded with eternal death in a real hell. And this is what the Bible and the Church teaches, and what John would have us know. Really!