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, concerning the Word of life– the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us–
My young neighbor told me he had purchased materials to install a new Brazilian cherry hardwood floor in his kitchen. I asked him about it’s installation. He told me that “it just all clicked together”. “It was really easy”. His brother was coming over at noon and they’d be done by dinner. I’ve installed a lot of floors about which a sales rep could say they “just click together”, but from experience I knew the list of possible time-consuming difficulties which might be met in such a project. My neighbor made the error of simply focusing in a shallow way about how difficult it would be to install this floor. Later, I went over to see the finished product. They had completed a lot of un(der)anticipated prep work, but not one piece of flooring was as yet installed. I went back home and got my tools and helped for a few hours that day….and ‘til ten the next night… and nine the next… and we’re almost done. After just a few minutes of my help, my neighbor ceded the process to me. He could see that I had actually done this and knew what to do. Finally, after all that and two trips back to Lowes, it was almost “clicked together”.
John was an old man when he wrote today’s verse. Theology about Jesus had begun to bud and branch. A generation had already arrived to whom Jesus was an idea, a concept, and they had devolved their own ideas about the idea of Jesus.
John is saying – You know what you’ve heard from people who didn’t know Jesus. I knew Him! I heard Him! I walked with Him! I touched Him! I loved Him as God and as a friend! Your eyes can see what I am writing, but I saw Him!
I can speak aloud all of the words in red in our bibles, the words of Jesus, in a very small amount of time. John spent more than a thousand days with Jesus. He walked along dusty roads, sat by campfires, washed and ate and did every normal human thing while existing daily with God. He also saw many miracles. He discussed countless subjects with Jesus. He had time to ponder the answers and go back for clarification. He was intentionally chosen and intentionally taught by the Lord. His words can’t be read as his version of a mythical story or a group delusion. He was there. He knew.
I hear a lot today about an easy form of Christianity that “just clicks together.” Say this prayer, attend church a couple of times a month, sing loud, lift your hands, throw something in the basket, and you’re cool with Christ. But when I look to the lives of Christians I’d like to emulate, I see lifetime devotion to scripture study, lengthy daily prayer, selfless sacrifice and often suffering. I see loving the unlovable and I see startling humility. I see lives radically devoted to Christ which after years of that kind of self sacrificial living, “just clicked together” as authentic Christians.