“The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our own hands. He is Jesus Christ the Word of Life. This one, who is life from God was shown to us, and we have seen him. And now we testify and announce to you that he is the one who is eternal life. He was with the Father, and then he was shown to us. We are telling you about what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and his son Jesus Christ. We are writing these things so that our joy will be complete.”
1 John 1:1-4
One of the many things I love about the New Living Translation (NLT) Bible is that it provides footnote commentary in general and also specific verse comments. In the margins, other scriptural verses are annotated. Sometimes, when I read a passage, I get completely lost and what I started to read, I never get back to, as I end up reading, loving and learning another passage.. That’s how I happened upon these verses. Does this happen to you?
Interestingly, this scripture was part of our advent devotional, and I had several stimulating discussions/emails with the author about that reflection. A different translation was used in the devotional. I have included the one above from the NLT.
In the early church, maybe two or three generations after Jesus was crucified, there were heretics…..those who took a different view of what the “Christian church” should look like – many doubting Jesus’ humanity and divinity. One theory was that Jesus was only a spirit; not a human being.
In HIS epistle, Jude, who was going to write about sharing the good news of salvation, finds that he must also write about these ‘heretics’ and another false theory. “[These are] godless people [who] have wormed their way in among you, saying that God’s forgiveness allows us to live immoral lives.” (Jude 1:4).
One of the commentaries describes that many of the eyewitnesses living during Jesus’ time had already died, and John was an elder statesman at the time of writing this letter. Just as Jude, John wanted not only to dispel these falsehoods but to warn the early believers to watch out for and dismiss these “worms.” It is a good thing to question or test our faith, which in turn can deepen our conviction. But these words were stark warnings to beware that there were people who were trying to dismantle Christianity. What a huge part these disciples played in keeping Christianity alive and well.
Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for sending your divine son to live amongst us in his human body. In this way, Jesus displayed every human emotion and went through trials just as we do today. Thank you for his disciples for carrying out and strengthening Jesus’ church. Thank you for your God-breathed Word so we may learn to have a discerning heart and know the truth.