The joy of knowing Christ
We proclaim to you the one who existed from the beginning, whom we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is the Word of life. This one who is life itself was revealed to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was revealed to us. We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy. 1 John 1:1-4 NLT
John begins his epistle by declaring the message and the person of Jesus Christ, “who existed from the beginning.” He can claim such authority of the subject matter he wants to proclaim because he is one of those who “have heard and seen.” He is an eyewitness. John points not to the proclamation that Jesus came in the flesh but to the divine revelation which was disclosed in history and recorded in the Old Testament that teaches the eternal existence of the Son of God. The message which is proclaimed is about Jesus, who “made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness” (John 1:14), Jesus is eternal. John is very specific on what he is proclaiming because it is the message that he has heard. John personally listened to the words coming from the lips of Jesus. He was one of the twelve disciples who accompanied the Lord from the time of Jesus’ baptism to his ascension (see Acts 1:21–22). He received instruction in the doctrines pertaining to the work and words of God, from the beginning of creation through the history of redemption in Jesus Christ. John, then, speaks of the training he and his fellow apostles received from Jesus. When John together with Peter before the Sanhedrin to face charges because they proclaim Jesus, took the opportunity to testify about his faith in Christ. “We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Since he and other believers were touched by God and had received salvation, John says, “we testify and proclaim to you that he is the one who is eternal life” (1 John 1:3). John is emphatic when he says that the life that God gives is eternal. He writes and proclaims about the eternal life that Jesus provides so that those who will recognize their need of a Lord and Savior will “have fellowship” with the disciples as well as other believers. Included in the fellowship is “the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” That is what makes joy complete, when we know that we share with others the life that God gave us. God wants us to have constant fellowship with Him and we do that every time we come to Him through His Word.