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……and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
And these things we write to you that your [fn] joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-5 NKJV)
I want full joy. Why be unhappy? Dave Guzik thinks this verse expresses the importance of relationship over accumulation of worldly possessions– Most people understand that the important things in life are not things at all – they are the relationships we have. God has put a desire for relationship in every one of us, a desire He intended to be met with relationships with other people, but most of all, to be met by a relationship with Him. In this remarkable letter, John tells us the truth about relationships – and shows us how to have relationships that are real, for both now and eternity.
John, the writer of these verses, knew Jesus intimately. Most scholars agree that John was a teenager when he began to walk in Jesus’ dust every day. Teen years are extremely important formative years. Things we learn and accept as truth in those years influence who we are and how we act as adults. If we spend those years learning and practicing the wrong things, we will at best spend years unlearning them or at worst have our lives destroyed or badly misled by what we learned. But John learned the Lord form the Lord. He had countless hours walking the roads of Israel with Christ. He refers to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved”. He had a wonderful relationship with the Lord and knew it. In these verses and all of chapter 1, John is exhorting us to a full relationship with Christ. When our relationship with Jesus is properly established, good relationships with others naturally result.
John says, I heard Him, I saw Him, I touched Him! Jesus was not mystical or theoretical to John. He was the guy he and his friends spent three and a half years with. He was the guy who over time revealed Himself as God in the flesh. He was the guy who confirmed His claim with miracles, but more importantly with intimate personal relationship. John knew and loved Jesus, and he is pleading with us to do the same.
Why is this so important to Him? John says — Jesus is the eternal word of life, and that relationship with faith in Him will transport any person from temporal life to eternal life, and that once that exchange is transacted, your joy may be full. Ever hear anyone long for a ten percent joyous life? How about a half joyous life? Neither have I.
If the landscape of your life is littered with broken relationships, or if you are struggling with one major broken relationship, it might be wisdom to take another look at your primary relationship with Christ for help. Have you heard Him like John? Seen Him like John? Has He touched your heart like He touched John’s? As Jesus walked with John, He is willing to walk with us today — but He won’t chase us down our own rambling path. We have to hear His voice, see Him, then walk as John did in Jesus’ dust — down Jesus’ path.
Want full Joy? Follow Jesus.
And these things we write to you that your [fn] joy may be full.
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