Howdy Everyone. He is risen! He is risen indeed!!
1 We declare to you what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—2 this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it, and declare to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was revealed to us—3 we declare to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. 1 John 1:1-4
I have lived for six decades plus (strange how my inner clock says I’m only 25). During my years we have fought three wars and one “conflict” (ongoing); we have gone through times of civil unrest; we have seen 13 presidents come and go; we have witnessed the rise and impact of the telecommunication industry; we have seen the computerization of much within the world; we can see, almost instantaneously, events happening a world away; we have seen the empowerment of groups that have long been silenced; we have been witness to the tensions of the modern family; we have seen the increase of violence within our culture; we have seen the destruction of lives by illicit drug use and the list could go on. The events within our world have shaped our lives.
As I reflect on the words above from 1 John I realize they were written near the end of John’s life, shortly before the end of the first century CE. It had been a little over six decades since he had experienced the resurrection of our Lord. Christianity was no longer the new deal, it was now a much larger faith with some estimating it to number around one million (quite a leap from the 12 disciples).
Think about what else had happened during this period. During his lifetime he had seen the destruction of his native homeland; he had been exiled for his religious faith; ten of his closest companions had died terrible deaths; Christians had been blamed for Nero’s destructive fire in Rome. Those early Christians knew that to become a member of this group often meant martyrdom. Those ancient realities could go on and on. Those realities could have shaped his and their lives.
But, In the midst of these human realities John “declared” truths about a fellowship that would help those early Christians rise above the pain of their day. There was one who promised eternal life and then, after being crucified, rose to a new life confirming the promise he had made. They saw him. They spoke with him. They touched him. They were transformed by him. They were empowered by the same Spirit that had empowered him (that is why we must study and come to know the person of Holy Spirit). The resurrection of Jesus Christ, not the other realities of history, was the defining event that shaped John’s life and the lives of those earliest Christians.
John and his fellow disciples declared this life changing relationship to the people of their day. I am sure they declared this life transforming message in both word and deed. John had no greater joy than to invite people to become part of the “fellows-in-the-same-ship” group. He didn’t do it only one day of the year, but every day during the year. Easter became the description of his life. He was one of Jesus’ “Resurrection People.”
The same is true for us. People all around us long to hear the good news that their past is forgiven and through belief in the resurrected Lord their future has been secured. Because of the power of the Lord Jesus we are set free to live differently in the present. We too are resurrection people. Thanks be to God.