Thoughts on 1 John

“That Which We Have Seen”

1 John 1:1-4

By Kendall Lowe

Suppose a man goes to a car dealership looking to purchase a vehicle. He walks around looking at the variety of options in the lot. Then he finds the dealer standing with a clip board in hand. The man goes up to him and says, “Tell me about this car right here. I’m interested.” Then the dealer responds to the man, “Well, I can’t really explain that car to you. It’s more or less indescribable. I’ve never actually driven it, so I can’t explain how it drives. And I don’t recall ever looking under the hood so who knows what’s there. So how about it?”

I can only imagine what the customer’s response might be. No car dealer in their right mind would give this pitch and expect anybody to be interested in what he is selling. Much like the dealer, oftentimes Christians want to give people a pitch for God by saying “Well, we can’t really describe Him. I can’t exactly explain Him. But you should definitely follow Him.” However, we need to understand that this isn’t going to work very well. People are not going to be interested in investing in something that the people selling it cannot even explain to them.

Listen to what John says in the opening lines of his first book. “That… 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.”

John doesn’t speak as if he cannot begin to explain or imagine what he is talking about, Instead, he speaks of that which they have seen and heard and touched. They are proclaiming something that they know about and have experience with. Now, we ourselves might say that we have not seen or heard or touched what John was talking about, since he had been in the presence of Jesus Christ. We are like the second and third generation Christians that John is speaking to. But that is why he says these things. John believes that you don’t have to present God as someone who is unexplainable and that we aren’t really familiar with. Because we have the eye witness accounts that we do, we have a way of explaining what others have seen and heard.

Along with that, I believe that we would have to be fairly blind to say that we ourselves have not seen or heard the work of God in our lives. I’ve seen the church at it’s finest do some pretty amazing things. I’ve seen some Christians at their finest challenge the ideas of what it means to follow Christ to the fullest. We too are eyewitnesses of the things that God is doing in the world. So when we find someone who is interested in what God has to offer, I believe that we as his ambassadors can explain to them just who God is and what it means to invest in his mission based on what others and we ourselves have seen and heard.

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