1 John 1:1 – We saw him with our very own eyes.
We gazed upon him and heard him speak.
Our hands actually touched him,
the one who was from the beginning,
the Living Expression of God.
This passage reminds us of the practical nature of our Christian faith. No, I am not talking about messages on how to be a better version of you. What I am talking about is walking, talking, and listening to the Lord in our day to day life. Jonathan Edwards used to say that Christianity was experimental; we might say experiential. The Christian faith is not a creed, a philosophy, a code of conduct, our principles to success in life. It is a vibrant continuous encounter with the Living God that happens at work, at home, or in gatherings with other believers. John and the other apostles had the privilege of seeing, hearing, and touching Christ in the flesh. John’s whole point of writing this letter was to bring others who had not seen Him in the flesh into this world of experiential Christianity. You see our senses are not limited to just our natural senses. We can see with the eyes of our heart and hear with the ears of our spirit. Christ is alive to us. Here are some interesting thoughts from the Passion Notes on this passage.
“The Aramaic text yields an interesting thought. By using the words one and heard in the same context, we’re taken back to the ancient prayer of the Hebrews known as the Shema: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one.” John is stating that he has heard the One that Israel was commanded to listen to, and that One is Jesus Christ. The word for touch is poetic. It comes from a sensory verb meaning “to pluck the strings of an instrument.” It can also be translated “to feel”. It is as though John is saying, “We have plucked the chords of his being and felt what motivated him, his melody within.”
My life is marked from those first days when Christ burst into my life in the summer of 1973. I was 21 years old and coming out of five painful years of substance abuse. I was awakened and stunned by how real Jesus had become to me and really surprised how I had been deaf and blind to Him for all of those years. That was the beginning of my experiential Christian life. Thankfully it has continued almost 47 years for me.