I John 1:1 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, of the Word of life;
2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)
3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
God shows us over and over again that we can trust His Word. In this book, written by the apostle John, God shows us that we can trust that which was from the beginning. Something that is from the beginning is authentic. If this something was from the beginning, then there was nothing before it. This is the bedrock.
John further wrote that He had seen this that was from the beginning. John is not giving a hearsay account. He is not just repeating something that he heard somewhere. He saw this with his own eyes. We see as well that John was not the only one who saw this. He uses the word “we”. The we is the other apostles. They not only saw this, but they looked upon it. This was not some passing thing that they saw and that was it. They actually took the time to examine that which they saw. They took note of it.
John further stated that their hands have handled it. John and the other apostles were very close to this which he is speaking of. John was directed by God to show the authenticity of what he was writing. We know that all of God’s Word is inspired by God. We know it is all true. John lived in a time prior to the completion of the Scriptures. It was also a time of great denial of the truth. It was just like our time. There is a great denial of the truth today. We have different people who are developing their own truth and they want us to believe their fictitious views.
John tells us what he is referring to with the last phrase of verse 1, “the Word of life”. This is what John saw and observed. This is what the apostles all saw and observed. They spent more than three years with this Word of life. They saw what this Word was really like.
In verse 2 we have further details given to us about this Word of life. We see that this Word is more than just a thing. We need to keep in mind that this is the same writer who wrote the Gospel of John. The very first verse of that Gospel account stated:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The Word in that passage is defined for us in verse 14 and further in verse 17 of that passage. The Word is Jesus Christ. In our text the Word is defined for us in verses 2&3. The Word is not some inanimate object. The Word is a person. In fact the Word is more than just a person. The Word is Jesus Christ, Who is God.
In verse 2 John declared that the life was manifested. The word translated as “manifested” means “rendered apparent”. This life was not assumed. It was real. John again reminds us that they saw this life and they were also bearing witness of this life. John and the other apostles spent time with Jesus Christ. John was directed by God to write about the importance of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of eternal life. This is the greatest gift man can have.
People have been looking for the fountain of youth for a long time. Some people have spent large sums of money to have their bodies frozen just prior to death in the hopes that when a cure is found for their particular disease, they can be revived and the problem fixed and they continue to live. Those people died without hope because they did not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
John wrote these words to give people another opportunity to put their trust in that which is real. We need something real to hold on to. Most of the world is holding on to that which is fleeting. They spend time on sports or gambling or some other thing. They spend their time in that which cannot give rest to the soul. They are always looking for something more. When a person settles on the truth, they find rest for their soul.
In verse 3 John is again directed to mention that which they have seen and heard. His message here was authentic. It was an eyewitness report. John was trustworthy. His message was worth listening to and it was worth receiving.
John and the other apostles had been blessed with spending quality time with the Lord Jesus Christ. During their three years with Jesus, they had many questions. They heard His teaching. They saw His miracles. They saw the opposition that He faced. They witnessed His trial and crucifixion. They also witnessed His death and burial and resurrection. They were there when He ascended up to heaven. They knew Jesus was different. After Acts 2, they were fully convinced that what they had witnessed was genuine. God chose John to write these words. God wants to fellowship with man. He does not need man, but He knows that man needs Him.
The word translated as “fellowship” means: “partnership or participation”. It is a blessing to be included in a partnership with the Saviour of mankind and with His Father. John tells us that true fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. John knew that this fellowship was available for all people. God is not so small that He cannot fellowship with multitudes of people all at once. Each person can be fully satisfied in God’s presence at the same time.
We as people cannot give our attention to multitudes of people at one time. A preacher can preach to many people at one time. However, if they have questions, he cannot answer their questions all at once. He needs to take time to answer one person’s question while others are kept waiting. He gets tired and forgets things and so on. God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ never get tired. They are never too busy. Every saved individual can have a close and intimate relationship with the true God at the same time. In fact this is encouraged in this book and elsewhere.
God chose John to give this invitation of fellowship to all people. Those who would read this epistle and believe in the God Who gave this Word are blessed in knowing the true God through salvation in Jesus Christ.