“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…” – 1 John 1:1-2
Jesus, the word of life, was made manifest and is manifest today. From the beginning, Jesus was and Jesus is today reigning. John heard and saw and touched the word of life. He provides a powerful testimony of Jesus for us.
As Pastor Mike shared Sunday, we too are witnesses, like John, to the wonder of the Word made flesh. Christians are Christians because they have heard, seen, and found joy in Jesus.
1. Jesus, Whom We have Heard
Open the Word of God and you will read the words and deeds of Jesus. His claims are over the top demanding a decision. We are witnesses to the written words of Jesus and the claims about Him. All witnesses must believe or reject Jesus.
[Jesus said,] “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” – John 8:58
[Jesus said,] “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28
[Jesus said,] “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6
[Jesus said,] “…follow me.” – Luke 9:23
[Jesus said,] “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,” – John 11:25
[Jesus said,] “…whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” – John 6:35
[Jesus said,] “What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.” – Matthew 10:27
[Jesus said,] “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Beyond the Gospels, we have the bold statements of people who have been personally changed by Jesus.
[Paul & Silas said,] “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” – Acts 16:31
[Paul said,] “…but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:23–24
[Peter said,] “[God] has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,” – 1 Peter 1:3–4
These examples are on display for our benefit. The Word of God stands as a revelation to us of Jesus. We hear Jesus in the Word. Yet, God provides more than the written Word as a revelation of the work of Jesus.
2. Jesus, Whom We have Seen
Open your eyes and see the work of God through His Church. The world will see Jesus’ disciples as they love one another (John 13:35). The aroma of Christ is in the Saints (2 Corinthians 2:15). Do not take the words lightly, “Jesus has changed my life.” That statement cannot be true without the work of God in a life who has seen Jesus through Jesus’ work in their heart. What makes a person love and forgive an enemy? How can someone find joy through cancer, sorrowful yet always rejoicing? It is Christ in us who shines in the trials of life.
We are witnesses to Jesus—dead, blind sinners made alive. Of course no naivety would fool us to believe that the Church is flawless. We are a multitude engaged in war against sin in pursuit of Christ. God’s Church is still His means of making known God’s wisdom to the universe (Ephesians 3:10). From the personal experience of each Christian to the first-hand encounters of friends and family who have surrendered to Christ, Jesus is seen in the world today through His bride the Church.
3. Jesus, Who Gives Complete Joy
No earthly possession, relationship, or experience will leave someone completely satisfied. It will never happen we can say with confidence. Cheesecake offers temporary joy that can be abused in excess. Hunting may give someone joy but has elements to it that are certainly not joyful. Even the greatest joys find their end. Marriages are temporary with joy coming to an end at death. By experience we know this to be true.
However, no one who is saved by God to a life in pursuit of Christ will ever regret that decision or find it to be joyless. The gospel is an offering of complete joy. You are a sinner. Christ is a Savior. Does the awareness of your sin bring you to your knees? Does the aroma of the Gospel fill your heart with hope and joy? Does the desire to live for Christ, fill your heart? The joy that Christians find in Christ will only grow as they seek and continue to find Him satisfying (Matthew 7:7), and death will be the no end but a beginning to greater joy than one can imagine.
Rejoice today if you have heard and seen and found joy in Jesus.