That which was from the beginning, 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.
1 John 1:1 (NIV)
Read: 1 John 1:1-10
Consider: Many people feel inadequate when given the opportunity to speak about their faith. I’m not thinking only about speaking in public, but also in one-to-one conversations with others. Not everyone is gifted in speaking publicly, but we all should be able to talk openly and enthusiastically about our faith in more personal settings.
Today’s reading from John’s first letter can teach us something about knowing what to say when we have the opportunity to share our faith with others. Notice what John says: That which was from the beginning, 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 (1 John 1:1). This is very personal as is clear from the words used: ‘we have heard’, ‘we have seen’, ‘we have looked at’ and ‘our hands have touched’. This idea of personal experience is repeated a number of times in 1 John 1:1-5 and this authenticates both the message and the messenger; in other words John’s readers could trust what he was sharing.
Of course John and the other disciples were with Jesus during the three years of his ministry, so they could speak of their personal experiences. Clearly John and the other disciples could testify to what they had seen, heard and touched and this was a way of ensuring they were sharing the truth and not some made-up story. By speaking in this way those who heard their testimony could rely on it as the truth. Does this mean that we are somewhat disadvantaged because we don’t have this same level of direct contact with Jesus?
We all have personal experience of what God has and is doing in our lives. Our experience of the Christian life can be a very potent message to share with others. We don’t need a degree in theology or ministerial training to enable us to share in this way. What we do need is the willingness to be used by God and to share our experiences in such a way that does not alienate us from others, or turn people away from Christ.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15)
Pray: Father, may we be willing to talk openly and enthusiastically about our faith in a way that is gentle and respectful. Forgive us when we fail to take the opportunities for witness that you offer us. Amen