By Jacob Redekop
“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.” —1 John 1:1 NKJV
The apostle John was amazed at the thought of the Father’s love being so great, and he stopped to consider it carefully. To do so, his senses were involved: First, the ears for hearing; second, the eyes for seeing; and third, the hands for touching. John’s conclusion was that truly this Man is unique!
As the apostle began this opening verse of 1 John, he first mentioned that “which we have heard.” The disciples actually heard the Man speaking and realized He was no ordinary Man. They listened intently and then passed on to us what they had heard. The multitude “marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Lk. 4:22). “They were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority” (v.32). On another occasion officers sent to take Jesus said, “No man ever spoke like this Man!” (Jn. 7:46). To the disciples, Jesus said, “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (6:63). That is to say, His words produced a spiritual and life-giving effect in those who heard. This can be said of no one else.
The apostle then continued to speak of that “which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon.” Here the apostle would have us look and contemplate. This is not just a casual glance, but to take time and reflect on the One on whom our eyes are fixed, even Jesus. In Luke 5 we see the Man who can forgive sins, and the large crowd witnessing this reasoned, “Who can forgive sins but God alone” (v.21). The multitude that heard Jesus speak and saw what He did were amazed and said, “We have seen strange things today!” (v.26).
The Samaritan woman after her encounter with Jesus at the well of Sychar went to the men of her city and said, “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” (Jn. 4:29). Jesus was more than a Jew, more than a prophet; He was indeed the Christ, the Son of the living God. He opened her heart and revealed to her the Father, who is seeking worshipers to worship in spirit and truth.
Is this not the voice for us today? We are wonderfully privileged to focus our eyes, our spiritual vision, on Jesus. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels … crowned with glory and honor” (Heb. 2:9). “But we all, looking on the glory of the Lord, with unveiled face, are transformed according to the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18 JND). We know who He is, Son of God and Son of Man – the One who loves us and came down from heaven to save us and to reveal the Father’s love.
Back to our verse in 1 John, we then read “our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life.” After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus said to His disciples, “Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see” (Lk. 24:39 NKJV). The word “handle” means to feel or touch, and the meaning is the same in this passage as in our verse.
In Luke 5:12-14 we see Jesus in a city where a man full of leprosy saw Him and said, “Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus responded. He put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed,” and “immediately the leprosy left him.” In Luke 8:43-48 we find a woman with a flow of blood for twelve years who came and touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. When Jesus said, “Who touched Me?”, the woman came forward, trembling, and declared that immediately upon touching Him, she was healed. Jesus’ answer to her is remarkably beautiful: “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”
We have traced a little of the life of the Lord Jesus and found that He was available to all who were in distress. He was able and willing to reach out with acts of kindness and words of comfort. May all who read this find comfort and strength by “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2). Praise His name!