See for yourself!
[I am writing about] what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands…
1 John 1:1 (Amplified Bible)
Just as he did in the introduction to his gospel, John is holding up Jesus for us to see and marvel at. Notice, he is not telling us a second-hand story here but is speaking from personal experience as an eyewitness of his earthly life, his incarnation and also his death, resurrection, and ascension. He’s saying, ‘This is God in the flesh!’
Notice the introduction to this first letter again: he is telling us that both he and Jesus’ other disciples have heard Him, seen Him, and gazed on Him – what is the difference between seeing Christ and gazing upon Him? The Greek verb to see is horan and simply means to see with physical sight. But the verb to gaze is theasthai and means that this is not just a passing glance but a steadfast searching gaze that seeks to discover something of the mystery and the depths of Jesus: God made flesh. And finally, he tells us that their hands have touched Him, handled Him. This brings to mind Luke 24:39, when Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection and said, “Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.” (NIV)
Luke, the author of the third gospel, was a Gentile. He also wrote the Book of Acts and his profession prior to his ministry was physician. Paul calls him ‘the beloved physician’ (Colossians 4:14 KJV). He was one of Paul’s companions on his first missionary journey into Macedonia, and other places. Here Luke uses the plural ‘we’: ‘we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia.’ (Acts 16:10 NIV).
That’s just a little bit of background into the life of this very educated man who cared greatly for others, but I’d like you to notice a special word that Luke uses as he begins his gospel message. He refers in verse one, first of all, to ‘…the things that have been fulfilled among us’. Verse two continues. ‘…just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.’ (Luke 1: 1-2 NIV). The Greek word he uses for ‘eyewitnesses’ is autoptes, from which we get our English word ‘autopsy’, it means ‘seeing with your own eyes, or seeing for yourself’.
Luke is declaring that his account of the life of Jesus came from those who had indeed seen Him with their own eyes, gazed on Him, and touched Him! Want to join us and see for yourself?
Father, once again, a deep heartfelt ‘Thank you’ for the precious gift of Jesus: for all that He did for us and for all He is doing for us now as our great High Priest at your right hand. Help us to see Him for ourselves. Amen.
Study by Cliff Neill
About the writer:
Cliff Neill is a Minister in the Hemel Hempstead congregation of Grace Communion International, where he is on the leadership team.
GCI Hemel Hempstead
Adeyfield Free Church Centre
Hemel Hempstead HP2 4GZ
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