Welcome to 2016! Time is real, and oh, so insubstantial! We (humanity) have followed God’s example with day, night and seasons and made calendars for ourselves. Someday, I really hope to find out where it goes to, all this time that goes by us as we live through it…
I have learned a lesson about time this fortnight. Funny isn’t it, how life throws you curve balls. Out of the blue, something that initially seems little and insignificant, suddenly becomes the most significant thing you’re dealing with? I certainly hope Jesus never lets me off the hook as far as personal growth goes.
For some reason it was the difference between reading the letters of Paul and the letters of John in the New Testament. It has been easy to get caught in putting them all into the same file: Scripture.
We know that just because it was written to people so long ago, doesn’t stop it being so beautifully pertinent, poignant and powerful now. Dealing with heart issues that we deal with, and full of the power of the Holy Spirit, because they were written by men who were full of Him and in love with Him and living in and under His influence every second.
I came across something that blew my tiny little mind. You’ll all be as familiar with it as I was I’m sure, because it’s just sitting there in black and white, written down for hundreds and thousands of years. It completely caught me off guard though when for the first time, I realised what was being written.
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:1-5 NIV
I don’t know whether it will hit you as it did me, but it was like a Holy Spirit mallet to the head and heart and gut.
Although he writes in the third person, John is very definitely testifying, I was with God when He was here, on this earth. I talked with Him, I touched Him, I know who His is and who He isn’t. I saw it in His face.
If you haven’t caught it, read it again. He’s talking about Jesus. “Jesus, who was from the beginning, who I have heard, who I have seen with my own eyes, and my hands have touched – this I proclaim concerning the Word of Life [this same Jesus is God]. This life- Jesus, appeared; I have seen Him, and testify to it. And I proclaim to you what I have seen and heard….”
Paul writes from the place of knowing God after the fact. He may have watched from the outside, but there is no indication that He knew Jesus at all before the Damascus road (Acts 9). His place of experience, is our place of experience. Which is probably why we love him so much! However; John, Peter, Jude (probably) and James all knew Jesus in a totally different way. They looked God in the physical face.
I would give anything to be able to do that.
Matthew, Mark and Luke also – the Gospel writers looked God in the face. Quite literally. Their writing comes from having literally looked God in the face. It’s a whole ‘nother level of intimacy that I personally ache to enter into.
So when John says “in Him there is no darkness at all” it is first hand testimony, from a man who has literally looked into the eyes of God, seen and knows.
Oy. I cried for several days over this. John was not writing to a particular church in a particular city, rather to the body in general. There is little situational culture to wade through – if any. It is a letter of raw first person experience of Jesus as the God of All Things.
I don’t know how you feel, but I hope I never recover from reading it as a personal letter from someone who was right there in the middle of it.
That first hand assurance of salvation, of light, of love, faith, the implication of having looked in the eyes of Jesus and seeing God.
God Bless You Very Much.