“This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and our hands have touched (concerning the word of life— and the life was revealed, and we have seen and testify and announce to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us).
What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
In vv.1-4, John sets out his aims for the letter and immediately launches into an attack on one of the many heresies (false teachings) about Jesus.
He says that he is reaffirming the truth about Jesus and His message, and counts himself as an eyewitness and close companion of the Lord (v.1).
One particular heresy, docetism, taught that Jesus did not possess a real, physical human body. Here in v.1, John blows this out of the water when he writes …we have heard…seen…looked at…our hands have touched…The incarnation of Jesus (His taking on flesh) is in full focus and John is affirming and confirming his personal knowledge and experience of this (v.2).
In vv.3-4, he sets out his goals for writing:
“What we have seen and heard we announce to you too, so that you may have fellowship with us (and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). Thus we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
John is writing to this group of believers to that they may have fellowship with us, and so that in this fellowship our joy may be complete.
John’s thinking is pretty clear, isn’t it? To really experience the joy of the Christian life (v.4) there must be fellowship horizontally (fellowship with us) and also vertically (our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ). In turn, this fellowship is allowed and enhanced by knowing what John knew, by seeing what John saw, and by hearing what John heard: the word of life.
For you and for me, let us consider these questions today:
Do we know what John knew?
Do we see what John saw?
Do we hear what John heard?
1 John is all about encouragement to live lives of obedience and love based on who Jesus is and what He did, so, do we know this?
Secondly for you and for me, think about the horizontal and vertical fellowship we are called to have (v.3):
Do you have enough of each?
Is there time each day spent with God in His Word and in prayer?
Is there time spent with and for others?