John’s Recollection of Christ in the Days of His Flesh
It is precious to consider the recollection that John has of the Lord Jesus Christ at the opening of his first epistle. What looms exceeding large in his memory is not an ordinary man, or a mighty miracle worker, or teacher, or preacher. John does not boast of being the disciple that Jesus loved. He does not boast of the time when the Lord Jesus was with the Apostles in the days of His flesh.
John’s sacred recollection of the Savior is best expressed by the following words: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we
have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;). (I Jn. 1:1-2). As John called to remembrance the time when Christ was yet with them bodily, the words that John spoke here are the most accurate vehicles of communication to give expression to his remembrance of God’s only begotten Son.
THAT WHICH WAS FROM THE BEGINNING
THAT WHICH WE HAVE HEARD
THAT WHICH WE HAVE SEEN WITH OUR EYES
THAT WHICH WE HAVE LOOKED UPON
THAT WHICH OUR HANDS HAVE HANDLED, OF THE WORD OF LIFE
THAT ETERNAL LIFE
THE LIFE WAS MANIFESTED, AND WE HAVE SEEN IT, AND BEAR WITNESS, AND SHOW UNTO YOU THAT ETERNAL LIFE
THAT ETERNAL LIFE WHICH WAS WITH THE FATHER, AND WAS MANIFESTED UNTO US.
Incidentally, the nearness that John had to Jesus prior to His death and resurrection did not abruptly end when the Lord was no longer bodily with the Apostles. The glorified Christ continued to be near to his Apostles and disciples from the right hand of God, but now in a new and higher capacity. We see this in the writings of all the Apostles. The glorified Christ had projected Himself into each of their hearts, enabling them to declare the unsearchable riches of Christ in their preaching and writing.
Those listed above are the words that John chose to best communicate that blessed recollection of the Savior when He was yet with them. They are words that faithfully represent the true nature of our blessed Lord. Let us have grace that we may have larger and nobler thoughts of Christ. Certainly, if we earnestly desire to see more of Jesus, God will show us more of Him.
Considering John, the disciple that Jesus loved, as a case in point, we see that nearness to the Savior breathed into, and reflected in, every syllable of his epistles and in the Revelation. Let us learn from this that we are not disadvantaged by not having the Savior with us bodily, but rather we are advantaged by His being able to minister to us from God’s right hand. The only thing that could possibly be better than our present condition is for Christ to appear the second (the final) time without sin unto salvation (Heb. 9:28). We shall be then changed fully into His likeness and there shall be no more separations from HIm.