Best of Daily Reflections: Where’s the Proof That Jesus Is Who He Said He Was?
If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater.
1 John 5:9-13
Memory was fading. The letters of John were written in the latter part of the first century. Some were saying that Jesus had not been a real flesh and blood person but a ghostly apparition. Others believed he was human but lacked divinity. John sought to keep the two natures of Jesus together. Jesus was the God Person—human and divine—who walked this earth, died for us, rose from the dead, and now gives Eternal Life.
And so John’s first letter begins with a beautiful statement of what the first Jesus followers experienced:
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—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.
We touched him! We saw him! He was like us in the flesh and yet also one with the Father, and those who believe in Him are graced with Eternal Life.
But, John wondered, how can he prove this? Testimony is needed to establish truth. There is human testimony—their own witness to these events—but there is still a greater witness: God’s own testimony.
You know this is true, John argued, because of the One who dwells within you, who gives you Eternal Life! This is, after all, God’s own witness which is above anything we could ever muster up ourselves. And to deny God’s witness is to call God a liar.
So, what about this eternal life? In our imaginations, that looks like a life stretched out in time, reaching out forever. For the early Christians, however, eternal life meant something far greater: it was a quality of life and not just a cold measurement. Eternal life is life with Christ, fellowship with the Creator and lover of your soul, the one who adds music and joy, beauty and color to your otherwise black and white existence, and the God who takes you from two dimensional, binary bits and pieces of the daily grind to a fullness and depth of life that goes beyond description and must be experienced to be known.
And once known, that life is recognized as eternal life, the evidence of the indwelling Lord who takes your otherwise bedraggled, hunched-over self and breathes life into you!
When all is said and done, isn’t that really why you believe at all? The truth of God is far more interesting than theological systems and homiletical exhortations; the truth of God is to be lived, to be known, and to become the authenticating witness of God to the Lordship of Jesus.
John wrote in his Gospel: “For God so loved the world [YOU!] that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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.
1 John 5:9-13
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Have you experienced the quality of eternal life even in a small way? How would you describe it? Is it mostly a personal experience or do people around you sense it? What do you think the next step is for you to more fully experience and live out God’s eternal life?
PRAYER: Life-giving Lord, save us from the fraudulent hawkers of life whose tonics leave us diseased and empty. And keep our eyes upon the one who is the life giver, life lover, and life saver of all! Amen.
P. S. from Marcus Goodyear, acting Editor-in-Chief: Dave Peterson is on vacation for two weeks, and I have asked George Cladis to fill in for him. George is a wonderful pastor who has worked with The High Calling for over a decade, contributing regularly to our sermon notes series and even serving on our board of advisors several years ago. We know you'll enjoy his insights into Scripture this week.