The author writes his epistle to believers who are trying to understand what eternal life means and how to live a holy life in the context of the Christian faith. These believers would benefit from a faith manual; instead, the author speaks to them in metaphor: Jesus is light; Jesus is love; Jesus is life. The conclusion of the book, our text for today, speaks of God’s testimony about Jesus as truth.
But this “testimony” surely doesn’t sound like one that would hold up in a courtroom, where just the facts and the whole truth are demanded. Light, love, and life aren’t compelling testimony when proving points in court. So, why does the author use this type of language “to testify”?
Because we’re not speaking of courtrooms. We’re speaking of human hearts, our inmost spiritual place. Facts and figures speak to the mind; those who saw Jesus raised from the dead can speak to eternal life out of fact. But what about those who came after? God witnesses to the human heart through the Son. Our testimony comes secondhand from God the Father to the Son. “Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts.”
I can explain in factual, scientific terms how my children were formed and born. But I’d need poetic words (like light and love and life) to describe how holding them for the first time felt.
Love and light and life testify to our human hearts of the hope of eternal life, which has already begun. We know this because we live in the joy and fellowship of God today and every day.
Gracious God, may we testify to your love, light, and life. Thank you for the gift of eternal life. Amen.
Scripture tells us that in our lives in general, and especially in our spiritual lives, we need to distinguish what is true from what is false. The psalmist admonishes us to follow the truth of God and flee wicked ideas. This week we read about Judas, who did not follow the psalmist’s advice—with disastrous results. In Acts the apostles seek to replace Judas among their number with a witness to Jesus who has not been led astray. In John’s Gospel, Jesus bemoans the loss of Judas and prays that his followers will cling to his words. The author of First John testifies that God’s words are trustworthy above all others. They bear witness to the life that comes through Christ, whose legitimacy was confirmed by his ascension into heaven.
• Read Acts 1:15-17, 21-26. When have you experienced the disruption of a meaningful relationship through death? How did you eventually recover?
• Read Psalm 1. When have you allowed the world to define you? How do you avoid that?
• Read 1 John 5:9-13. How have you come to know the testimony of God in your heart?
• Read John 17:6-19. What helps you sense God’s presence and protection?
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