“I was there and saw the whole thing.” Whenever you hear a story from a first-hand account, you can believe it. John, the author, was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus who lived and walked with Jesus for three years. For three years, he was right there beside Jesus as he healed the sick. He was there for the feeding of the 5,000 and witnessed Him walk on water. John, listened intently as Jesus spoke to the crowds as well as later when He explained the parables to the twelve. As he opens his letter in 1 John, he identifies his credentials as an eye witness of Jesus.
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it.” 1 John 1:1-2a
For John and the other ten remaining disciples, they could not help but share the story of Jesus because it was so much a part of their story. I love hearing the stories of those that have trusted Jesus as they share how that decision completely changed their life. If you are a believer in Jesus, you know what I am talking about. Whether your life was a mess or without challenge, you still had this emptiness that was only made complete when you accepted Jesus as your Savior and trusted Him with your ordinary everyday life. Your life was changed the moment Jesus’ story connected to your story.
Whenever I meet someone for the first time, I struggle with not wanting to answer the question, “What do you do?” I know as soon as I say I am a pastor, there is a chance that this person either will be guarded around me, or they will want to debate their beliefs or ideas of theology. They are always disappointed when I will not share my thoughts on creation and shift the conversation to my story of what Jesus has done in my life. I will share stories of people I have known that were changed through the Gospel message. I have found that people can debate Scripture, they can argue theology, and quote something they read. However, they cannot argue with a personal story of a life changed.
In verses 2-3, John writes, “The life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us — that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”
He proclaims his story as he proclaims the Gospel. You and I have more than belief in Jesus; we have a story to proclaim. Our lives testify to what Jesus has done and wants to continue to do in our lives and the lives of those around us. Your story is powerful and unique because it is your story. It cannot be debated, and it can change lives as you proclaim it