13 January 20201 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— (v. 1)
Psalm: Psalm 119:1-16
John writes his open letters to the Church with the purpose of correcting the teachers around them who were saying things like “God couldn’t have lived among us”. These teachers were trying to make people believe more in their local cultural philosophies than in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, Son of God who takes away the sin of the world. John was writing a witness statement as one who had spent time with, lived alongside, touched the hands of, and breathed the same air as Jesus Christ. John reminds the churches that the other teachers with other ideas may think fancy thoughts and have carefully constructed ideas, but they don’t hold up to the reality of the "word of life" (v. 1). Here, we hear echoes of both Genesis 1 and John 1 with references to “The Beginning” and, as we are reminded of the two beginnings, we are called to remember that Jesus was there, the Word of Creation, and is, as we see it described in John 1:14, “The Word who became flesh and lived among us.”
'Becoming flesh' demonstrates to everyone the ‘life’ available to people, which is possible in Christ. Feeling ‘half-ish’ about what you’re doing? Jesus the Word speaks life. Has your faith been a bit mundane and ritualistic? Jesus speaks the word of life – and it begins to have a heartbeat and a plan and a desire to break out from inside you and to confess its existence in mission and evangelism. That which had been law and prophesied by faithful people of God was, literally, the life which he had spoken.
The word of life takes us beyond the going to work, eating our meals, doing our exercise, having a family, getting old and dying routine of life. John himself has witnessed the resurrected Jesus. He has received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. He knows that the confines and boundaries of death are irrelevant to those who "have the word of life". Those who believe in Jesus, have their life in him and his life is from the beginning and continued after he had been put to death. There are no earthly limits to life. Anyone who says that the body can’t know the saving love of God is wrong, according to John’s testimony. Anyone who teaches that Jesus isn’t God incarnate is leading people astray, says John. Our unity is not found in treaties and documents which ‘ought’ to be signed – there is no life there – no matter how well-intentioned. This was shown in the law.
True unity is found as we fellowship together in the location of the Son who is in the Father. This is where our unity is. Unforced and un-legislated. The outworking of finding our location in Christ is that we will begin to show signs of life, and these will look like the fruit of the Spirit and be named as joy.
- How much emphasis on the "word of life" is there in your church? Do we try too hard to make the gospel fit our comfortable world-views? What does this begin to look like?
- John is proclaiming eternal life. Why might it matter to you to have an eternal understanding of life?
- What challenges does this bring to your relationships, confession of faith and attitude to sharing the Good News of Jesus’ saving love with people outside your own faith?