EYEWITNESS TO THE LIGHT
Lord, keep me in Your light.
Read 1 John 1
The Incarnation of the Word of Life
1 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. 2 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. 3 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. 4 We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Light and Darkness, Sin and Forgiveness
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
a 1 John 1:4 Some manuscripts your
b 1 John 1:7 Or every
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Lord of all brightness, open my eyes to see the wonder of your glorious light, that all darkness, both within and around me, may fade away.
It’s hard to miss the parallels between the beginning of John’s Gospel and the beginning of his first letter. Both emphasize that God came into the world as a human. In both, Christ is the eternal ‘Word’. Both use the words ‘beginning’, ‘Word’, ‘life’ and ‘with’. In the epistle, however, John emphasizes his unique credentials as an apostolic eyewitness – he has heard, seen, looked, and even touched this Word of Life that was from the beginning. As he writes, he is quite probably the lone survivor from the earliest days of Jesus and its immediate aftermath, and this fact is not lost on his readers. It establishes a distinctive authority and sets the tone for the rest of his letter.
Yet, John’s desire is to share his intensely personal revelation of Jesus with his readers, so that, through his ministry, they may also have fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus. John’s purpose in writing is that they would also share in the eternal life of Christ; this is what would make his fatherly joy complete.
John then turns to his favorite image of God: light. In typical Johannine dualism, light represents all that is good, true, and holy, while darkness represents all that is evil, false, and sinful. He reasons passionately with his readers that they cannot claim to have fellowship with the Light and continue to walk in the darkness. Yet, he is also quick to acknowledge that everyone sins; this passage hinges around the pastoral invitation to confess and be forgiven. The promise is extraordinary – if we confess our sins, then God, the Light, is both faithful and just, not only to forgive us our sins but also to purify us from all unrighteousness.
This passage invites us to get right with God, enjoying the light of God’s presence in our lives. Confess your sin, receive forgiveness, for this leads to lasting change.