The Word of Life (1 John 1:1-4)
“Believe not in Jesus, and you will have no joy. Believe little, and you will have little joy. Believe much, and you will have much joy. Believe all, and you will have all joy, and your joy shall be full.”– Robert Murray M’Cheyne
I. Who is the Word of Life?
The Word “was from the beginning.” All throughout Scripture God teaches us that the Word is eternal. In his Gospel, John assures us that the Word was in the beginning, pointing us back to the time of Creation (Gen 1:1). We read that He is our dwelling place in all generations (Ps 90:1-2), He is from the earliest times (Mic 5:2), He is from the days of eternity (Mic 5:2). The Son is the uncreated, eternally self-existent, self-sufficient God, with no beginning, and no end. He is the Alpha and Omega, before yesteryear, before time, before the foundation of the world.
Not only was the Word from the beginning, but He was experienced by the human senses of hearing, seeing, and touching when He became a man through the incarnation. He assumed human nature and began to have a human body and soul. The invisible was seen with eyes; the untouchable was touched by human hands; the self-existent Creator was made flesh; the eternal was sent forth in time; the Word became flesh! The apostles were firsthand, authentic eyewitnesses of the Word of Life, experienced with sense perception.
II. What Has He Done?
Jesus is the Word of Life, the eternal Life, because He came to give the experience of eternal life to mankind. The writer of Hebrews explains, “Since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is the devil” (Hb 2:14). Christ bore the guilt of sin and died as a substitute in our place. He appeased God’s righteous anger and satisfied divine justice by His sacrifice of death, bearing God’s wrath in our stead. Because He did that, we are now granted eternal life. Jesus is the eternal Life, which we now experience in knowing and trusting Him alone.
III. The Purpose of the Introduction
John is writing about this Word of Life “so that” they might have “fellowship with us.” The meaning of the word fellowship is a deep sharing in things common, and therefore participating in them together. The basis of Christian fellowship is first of all fellowship with the Father and Son. Spiritual oneness with one another is only possible because we are reconciled first to God, and thereby to one another. This is condescending grace, that the Son of God who forever was in the bosom of the Father would become a man so that we can now recline on His bosom! Naturally, the deepening of our fellowship with the Father and the Son leads to a deepening of our fellowship with one another. As we discuss with one another the beauty of Christ and His Word, encourage one another in the gospel, and seek to help one another live out the implications of the gospel, we find that our fellowship grows and is strengthened.
John is also writing about this Word of Life “so that” his joy would be made complete. His joy is linked to the church believing and walking in the light of the gospel. Their lives impact and affect him, since he was so closely joined to them in fellowship. These words from John echo the teaching of Jesus, “If you keep my commandments, and will abide in My love… that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full” (John 15:10-11). Fellowship with Christ produces true, substantial, eternal joy in our hearts, and seeing others in fellowship with Christ enhances our joy.
- What are specific ways that you can deepen your fellowship with the Word of Life?
- What are specific ways that you can deepen your joy with the Word of Life?
- What are specific ways that you can seek to help others deepen their fellowship and joy with the Word of Life?