1 The Word that gives life
was from the beginning,
and this is the one
our message is about.
Our ears have heard,
our eyes have seen,
and our hands have touched
2 The one who gives life appeared! We saw it happen, and we are witnesses to what we have seen. Now we are telling you about this eternal life that was with the Father and appeared to us. 3We are telling you what we have seen and heard, so you may share in this life with us. And we share in it with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4We are writing to tell you these things, because this makes us truly happy.
There’s nothing like the rush of adrenaline when experiencing something firsthand, for the first time. So many emotions emerge! Ones like excitement, awe, ecstasy, and joy. I love going to live sporting events, especially associated with American football. I will never forget the first time I saw my beloved New York Jets play at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I was stunned by the surge of emotion I felt. I couldn’t stop screaming, as though the joy and ecstasy I felt that night would never fade away.
Now think of something you experienced firsthand. Take yourself there for a few minutes. Think about what you saw, what you touched, what you heard, and how you felt inside. Can you imagine if we, like John and the others, had experienced Jesus firsthand?
The start of John’s letter is astonishing because without skipping a beat he essentially invites us to experience firsthand what he experienced firsthand: Jesus. John wants us to know personally that Jesus is real, that he really lived. And not just as a man, but as “the infinite Life of God” (2, The Message) to bring God’s life into our lives. Just as Jesus proclaimed and John later recorded in his Gospel: “I am the . . . life” (John 14:6).
Knowing and experiencing Jesus in relationship is a gift from him to us. We don’t deserve it nor can we earn it. It’s simply freely given.
Taking in all that is happening in the world right now, does John’s message resonate with you, or not? If not, then what would it take for it to? Today, seek Jesus, the One who embodies the infinite life of God. Ask him to give you a firsthand experience of him so that among other things, you will experience joy, his supernatural, life-giving happiness (v 4).
Holy Spirit, open my heart to you. I realize that on most days I’m just trying to get by and I don’t live in your Life. And yet, I desire it. I would like to experience your life and joy in all the situations and relationships around me. Today, give me a firsthand experience of you. And help me to live fully in it. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.