I love to cook. I find that creating healthy and yummy meals for my family is a creative outlet without any guilt, as the family benefits from my creativity (usually). There is nothing like a tantalising roast- the smell, the succulent flavour, the hint of herbs, the oozing gravy. Or for that matter a moist chocolate cake cooking in the oven. You open the oven door and as the heat of the oven hits your face, so too does the delicious smell: love, warmth, home. I remember hearing an old wives piece of advice that if you have onions sautéing in the pan when your husband opens the front door from work, the smell will create an atmosphere of peace and relaxation- he knows his stomach will soon be satisfied and that you have things under control (whether true or not). Aren’t our senses wonderful things!
As the apostle John reaches old age it has been many many years after Jesus lived, died, rose and returned to heaven. The year is possibly around AD 90-95 and John pens the epistle of 1 John, most likely from Ephesus, to the churches in Asia Minor. John has lived a long life, tasted lots of meals, held many hands to comfort, preached many sermons, felt many emotions, experienced a broad range of the five senses. Age has not wearied John’s faith, rather the Holy Spirit has fanned it into a vibrant, passionate blaze. John writes:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life— the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us— that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete” (1 John 1:1-4)
In these verses, John urges his writers to believe in Jesus Christ- the revealed ‘Sent One’ of God. He shows that Jesus was fully God and fully man- John heard him, saw him, touched him and it is this first person account that testifies to the validity of his claim. He is an eye-witness.
Why does John highlight that his eyewitness account is accurate? So that “you too may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1:3) and this fellowship is also “with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). John yearns for his readers to recognise Jesus as Lord and Saviour and share in the delight and joy gained in a relationship with God.
Sometimes it is easy to doubt the validity of Jesus and our faith- 2000 or so years is a long time! Unlike Thomas, we can’t touch Jesus’ side to prove that He is real, no matter how much we want to. But in this introduction to 1 John, we can take great comfort. We can also take comfort in Jesus’ words to Thomas, “Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).
While we struggle with doubts because we don’t have all the senses engaged- we can’t touch nor can we see with our eyes. We can have confidence in God’s Word, written down by eye-witnesses testifying to Jesus and in the process we know because of this faith, we will be blessed.
photo credit: Jim Moran via photopin cc