1 THE WONDER OF THE GOSPEL

Have you ever noticed the enthusiasm and excitement in the first few verses of 1John?

John, when he wrote his letters, was a very old man. Many decades had passed since the three years he spent with Jesus Christ, listening to him, learning from him, observing him. But he is still super-excited about what he saw and heard, perhaps even more excited than he was during those three years.

Time has not diminished his wonder.

Familiarity has not dulled his amazement.

Nor has his confidence in the personal salvation granted to him through the work of Christ diverted his attention away from the central focus, the main thing – the person of Christ.

It is Jesus Christ himself who is the cause of John’s excited enthusiasm.

Notice how he refers to Jesus:

‘That which was from the beginning ... the Word of life ... the life ... the eternal life, which was with the Father...’ (1John1: 1 &2).

This is similar 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 with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made ... In him was life ...’ (John 1:1-4).

And also similar to concepts in Revelation:

‘I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One ... I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End’ (Revelation 1:17, 18; 22:13).

The thing that still amazes John after all the years that have passed is that this eternal Son of God, who existed before his creation of the universe and all that is in it, who is source and goal of everything, and the source and giver of life – this exulted, powerful, infinite Being became a human being.

Can you sense his awe and wonder in what he recalls in 1John 1:1 – 3?

We have heard him... that is, heard him speaking to us, face to face!
We have seen him with our eyes!
We have looked at him!
We have touched him with our hands!
We have seen him!
He has appeared to us!

John, and the other disciples, who walked, talked and lived with Jesus, had heard, seen and even touched the eternal, living God. Not just in a spiritual sense, as we do, but physically, tangibly.

And again there is similarity to John’s gospel:

‘The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory ...’ (John 1:14).

This incarnation of God, this God-in-human-flesh, holds John in deep and permanent amazement.

And here we must ask ourselves:

Have I been so focused on my salvation that I have lost touch with the identity of the One who saved me?

Has my sense of wonder and amazement about the person of Christ been dulled by the passing of time? Has who Jesus is ceased to impact me?

Have I become so familiar with the concept that the Jesus who died for me is the eternal Lord of glory that this truth no longer surprises me?

Is my concept of Jesus so minimalized that he ceases to amaze me?

Because it is this Jesus, seen, heard and proclaimed by John and the other apostles, not some lesser Jesus, who is the ground of our fellowship with God and with each other, and who is the reason for our joy (1John 1:3, 4).

©Rosemary Bardsley 2021