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— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1 John 1:1-4
History and Context:
John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, wrote this letter while in Ephesus. John was the only one of the apostles who died a natural death, rather than being martyred. He lived to be around 94 years old before he died right around 100 AD. He was one of the 'inner three' during Jesus' ministry and experienced the most intense and powerful moments of Jesus' life and ministry. John wrote the Gospel of John, three letters and the book of Revelation. In his own Gospel we can see that John had a true understanding of how Jesus felt about him as he refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved".
This is the introduction to John's first letter. John is beginning by sharing that he is not just preaching book knowledge. He is not just preaching what he has heard somewhere else. He is preaching what he himself has experienced. What he has seen, heard, and even touched with his own hands. He is reminding them that he personally walked with Jesus and experienced who Jesus was, heard His teachings, and saw Him die, resurrected, and ascended into heaven. He personally had fellowship with Jesus Christ.
Before you can share something with conviction, you must personally experience it. This is why science classes do experiments, and math classes have you work problems, because until you have done it yourself, and seen how it works, you can not truly know it. It is the same in our Christian walk. If you are not continually experiencing the presence of God then you have no authority to preach about God to others. If you have not studied the Word yourself then you are not in a place where you can share the Word with conviction. The challenge today is to take time to truly experience who God is, see His glory, hear His voice, and feel His presence. Experience, both first and second hand, how He changes lives. This will strengthen your message when you do have the opportunity to share the Gospel.
Lord, I do want to see you. I do want to hear you and to feel your presence. Let me experience you. Let me experience your glory. I love you Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen!