I’m reading through 1 John at present. I like to read through the whole thing for context. And I like to read through it slowly, a little bit at a time to allow the words to sink deep into my heart—hopefully thinking on them often, over days, and putting them into practice with my life.
I’ve been thinking about the first 4 verses of the book for a few weeks now.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched —this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.” 1 John 1:1-4 (NIV)
The first thing that caught my attention was the language John uses.
He writes “That which is from the beginning, that which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched.” These are the different ways we experience the world. John, as a disciple of Christ, had plenty of firsthand experience about Jesus to speak from. When we have experienced something, we can speak about it in a way we couldn’t otherwise. We understand it. We have learned from it. We know its value.
Another thing that caught my attention was that the phrase “we proclaim.” It’s there two or three times depending on the translation you read.
So…what does it mean to proclaim?
The Greek word here is apangellō. To declare or announce. It basically means to share or make known.
And what is John making known?
We also proclaim because in the midst of sharing we connect with others. When we bond over things we share, there is a closeness that is present between us.
This is true in 1 John too.
John proclaims so those who receive his letter may have “fellowship.”
The word for fellowship in Greek is koinonia. It means communion.
I like the way the Voice translation reads: “What we saw and heard we pass on to you so that you, too, will be connected with us intimately and become family.”
John wants communion—an intimate connection. A family connection. And this through Jesus.
Do you know that connection? I do.
When I sit around the table laughing with my dear friends who know Jesus, I know this communion. When I share my story of transformation or ask my sisters in Christ to pray for me when I am struggling, I know an intimate connection. A family connection. And this through Jesus.
I want my friends who walk in relationship with Jesus to be brought closer to him. And I want my friends who haven't heard of God's love to know this communion too.
So…what is it we proclaim, each day?
Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we experience relationship with Christ and allow it to change us. May proclamation be the natural response to God’s goodness.