Today’s passages: Jeremiah, chapters 48-49; 1 John, chapter 1
Scripture: 1 John 1:1-4 (NRSV) – 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 – this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us – we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
Observations: I’m struck this morning by the passion which John displays from the very beginning of this letter – a passion to declare to you what was from the beginning. That phrase “from the beginning” harkens back to the opening verses of John’s Gospel: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2, NRSV) “What was from the beginning” is the relationship between the Father and Son – a fellowship that we have been called to join. Jesus demonstrated the depth and the power of that fellowship during his earthly life – while he “pitched his tent among us” (see John 1:14) – by demonstrating the peace that can only come from that close relationship with God. John had the privilege of hearing and seeing, and touching Jesus during his earthly life – but he has no doubt that his testimony about Jesus will be powerful enough to invite others into that fellowship with the Father and the Son.
Three times in these four verses John uses the word “declare”; in addition, he also uses the word “testify” once. Four times in four verses – that gives us the motivation for John’s writing. And it reminds us of our motivation to declare to others what we have heard, and seen with our eyes, and looked at, and touched with our hands. Even though we haven’t had the privilege of seeing Jesus “in the flesh,” we have the Biblical accounts of his life and ministry, and we have our own personal accounts of the ways that God has worked in our lives through the saving, transforming power of the blood of Jesus. Each of us is an “in the flesh” demonstration of that power!
What we are called to is “fellowship” – a day-by-day relationship, an ever-deepening friendship with God. God hasn’t done what he has done just to give us a “get out of jail free” card. Jesus didn’t come to die for us just to manage our sins; he came to forgive us and to cleanse us. “If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NRSV, emphasis added) No wonder John was passionate about declaring this message!
Applications: God is reminding me that we need to be passionate about declaring this message, too! The message of forgiveness is a message of hope – and so is the message that Jesus will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. We can’t just tell people about sin; we have to offer them the hope of forgiveness and cleansing that Jesus has made possible. In a world that seems to be driven by anger and fear, people need to hear the message of hope that Jesus brings!
Prayer: Father, thank you for reminding me today of the hope that I have in Jesus. Thank you for also reminding me of the importance of sharing that hope with others. Help me today to live in ways that demonstrate that hope, and so to lead others to you. Lead me in your ways today. Amen.