Meeting the Author
On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin, the Russian cosmonaut, became the first human in space and the first to orbit the Earth. Speculations in the media suggested that from orbit Gagarin made the comment, "I don't see any God up here." Who knows if he really said that from space, but the Russia leader, Nikita Khrushchev did say, “Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any God there.” Is this the way we are supposed to look for God, as if He is on another floor of the building and if we look real hard we can see him?
C. S. Lewis described it more like the relationship between Hamlet and Shakespeare.
In other words, the only way the character Hamlet could have any interaction with Shakespeare, or know anything about him, would be for Shakespeare to reveal himself in the book. Well that’s exactly what Jesus Christ did.
As our creator, He became man and showed us who God really is. 1 John 1:1-4 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. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his son, Jesus, Christ,”
The difference between the gospel and every other world view is in the above passage:
1) “The life appeared.” In other words, the eternal God that existed before time came to our world. Jesus is God Almighty and this is an exclusive truth.
2) “Our hands have touched - this we proclaim.” God came to rescue and restore that which was lost. This shows the heart of God. He was not at a distance looking in, but close enough to touch. It shows his perspective of our bodies, worth restoring to their original states, now in salvation and in the future with an eternal heaven and earth. If this is His perspective of the world, it should show itself through us as servants of God in this world, working with our Savior to restore and renew.
3) “Our fellowship is with the Father.” Lastly, we see grace. The relationship we don’t deserve freely offered. This should humble us and cause us to be gracious to all those whom God is pursuing.
Enjoy looking for these three themes throughout the book of 1 John, you will find them everywhere.
Tips for Reading- (Application tip # 8)
Note: This section is help for Bible Reading in general. It has been building throughout the year under the topics of Observation (what the Scripture says), Interpretation (what it means) and Application (what it means to your life). Feel free to look back over past weeks to get the whole picture.
Someone once said, “It’s not what others think about you, or even what you think about yourself. But what you think You Are.” That means it’s very important what our thoughts are focused on. So, the next application question actually leads to an activity that can help with our thinking; “Is there a verse to memorize?”
The reason this is so important is when we memorize something it becomes part of our hearts. For example, I John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will for give us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” What a great verse to have in your heart when you have fallen!
Another good memorization verse from this book is I John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Great to know nothing can separate you from the gift of eternal life God has given.
Any verse can be memorized, but some carry more significance in certain situations. It’s great to ask yourself as you are reading through the Bible, which verses are speaking to you. Write them down and work on them. You can even list longer passages or chapters. I memorized the book of Philippians when I was a teenager and still to this day can quote a lot of the verses. It’s amazing what God can bring back to your memory.
Notes from David’s Journal
It is purported that John wrote the Gospel of John and these three epistles on his deathbed with his disciples gathered around him. Supposedly, he whispered to all of them right before he died these words: "Little children, love one another." No one actually knows if this legend is true or not, but it certainly expresses the theme of first, second and third John.
Notice the constant adjurations from John to love one another. He says if we love Jesus, we will love one another. Love is the preeminent virtue. Since God is perfect love, how can we say God lives in us and not love that which He loves the most: people!
The other image John constantly uses is God is light. Have you ever been in a dark place and yearned for some kind of light? You trip over obstacles, perhaps even fall, and light is your most precious desire? In our dark world, God has given us His light through Jesus! He came to show us the path to Godliness, but also the way home to Him. When His light lives in us, we become, as Jesus stated in Matthew 5, the "light of the world." We are God's light to others resting in darkness, those who no longer want to trip and fall and want to know the way home.
God is light and love. Those are the two adjectives used by John to describe God in these letters. As you read them, fall in love once again with the character of God. He loves you so much. Jesus' death and resurrection prove it. He is our light in a dark world. In Him alone rests our hope...and our eternal home!