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— 2 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— 3 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. 4 And these things we write to you that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:1-4)
In this opening statement of his letter, the apostle John describes the intimate fellowship he had with Jesus during His time on earth. The Word of Life, Jesus, came from the heavenly Father and was manifested to John and his fellow disciples. They were able to see Him, hear Him, and even touch Him. As reliable witnesses, they were therefore able to declare Him to those who had not had this experience. However, John goes on to say that his reason for writing is that they might share that same fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ – now. And as a result of this fellowship, they would experience complete joy.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit with Jesus, to look in His eyes, and to hear His voice opening up to you the mysteries of the kingdom of God? Have you ever imagined what it would be like to share with Him from the depth of your heart, knowing that one touch from Him could meet every need? Wouldn’t it all be so much easier if He were present with us? Well, when John wrote these words Jesus had died, risen, and ascended to the Father, and yet John declares in the present tense that his fellowship is with God the Father and with Jesus.
John understood that Jesus had not gone away. On the contrary – He was now more present than ever before. Before going to the cross to die for the sins of the whole world, Jesus had assured them that He would send His Spirit. That way, He would not merely be with them but in them (John 14:17). There would not be a moment in their lives that Jesus would be absent (v.18-20). This is what John meant when he declared, “and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.” He was keenly aware of Jesus’ presence constantly being with him and in him. Therefore he was always able to call on Jesus for guidance, for strength (both physical and spiritual) and for power to do the works of God (John 14:12-13).
So is this an experience reserved only for John and the other apostles? Or is it something only a few chosen men or women of God can enjoy today? Not at all. John writes this letter because he wants every one of us to come to the realisation that this kind of intimate fellowship is available to all who believe – including you and me! He wants us all to know the complete joy that can only come through fellowship with Jesus. But there is a condition to experiencing such fellowship – obedience.
God is light, and those who live in fellowship with Him cannot continue to live in darkness (1 John 1:5-6). If we love Jesus we must keep His commandments (John 14:15). If we want to be truly His and enjoy the benefit of intimacy with Him we must endeavour to live according to His will and purpose. We must make Him Lord of our lives and seek His will, not our own, in everything. Let us therefore seek direction from His Spirit every day – all day. … if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)