“…that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may also have fellowship with us; and indeed, our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” 1 John 1:3
During school terms the elders meet early on a Monday morning here at church. We have been meeting for prayer but just recently we have also committed to studying a book of the Bible together. The book we have chosen is 1 John. In the opening verses of this letter we discover that the Apostle John was writing out of his own personal experience of Jesus. He refers to Jesus (the One who was from the beginning) as ‘one whom he had heard, which he had seen with his own eyes, and whom he had touched with his own hands’ (1 John 1:1). John also calls Jesus the ‘word of life’. This speaks of the fact that Jesus IS life (the One who is the very essence of life and the One who gives life—eternal life). In spending time with Jesus over the course of his earthly ministry John had become convinced that he was God in the flesh and that all he taught was true.
Having become convinced of Jesus’ divine nature and identity, John then sought to pass on to his readers these truths so that they too might come to know and accept Jesus and to become part of His family—to experience the joy of fellowship with other believers, and ultimately with God the Father and the Son (v.3).
I was first introduced to Jesus nearly 30 years ago. It was at God’s initiative, and through the inner work of His Holy Spirit in my life, my eyes and heart were opened to the truth of who Jesus is and I was made aware of my need to put my faith and trust in him for the forgiveness of my sins, and to be reconciled to the holy God. I may not have had the actual physical contact with Jesus in the same way that John did, but I have ‘heard’ his gospel (good news of salvation).
I have ‘seen’ his powerful work in my life and in the lives of others. I may not have physically ‘touched’ Jesus, but his grace and mercy and love have touched me in lots of different ways—through an inner peace and comfort from the indwelling Holy Spirit; through the loving actions of His people; and through His empowering me for His service.
If you are a genuine follower of Jesus then you too must have a personal experience of His love and grace and power in your life. This is your ‘God-story’.
Like John, we are called to proclaim ‘that which we have tasted for ourselves’ – Jesus. John was simply conveying that which was real to him. We are called to do the same so that others might have fellowship with us and with God Himself and to experience the joy that comes with that.
I encourage us all to be aware of our own ‘experience’ with Jesus (how his encounter with us has changed our lives) and to be able to communicate that to someone clearly and succinctly. It is hard for someone to argue against that which has been our experience. Of course, in telling them of Jesus, we must also make clear the truth of the gospel message – that we are sinners in need of God’s forgiveness and that comes only through repentance and faith. We must come to God purely on His terms, not our own.
Let’s be willing to share Jesus with others as the opportunity presents itself – praying and trusting that the Spirit of God will open the minds and hearts of those we speak with.