That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full” – 1 John 1:1-4.
How can we be confident about what the New Testament says about Jesus Christ? To that question, these are precious words from John, one of Jesus’ twelve Apostles, who knew Jesus personally. John wants the world to know that in the person Jesus Christ the Almighty God, creator of the universe, can be known and has made himself known. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life.”
John and the other Apostles, together with many other disciples, attest to the reality of God manifest – “the life was manifested…” John is an eyewitness. He heard Jesus’ teachings. He saw the miracles with his own eyes. He witnessed the crucifixion. He witnessed the living Jesus after he had risen from the dead. He touched Jesus- God manifest- with his own hands. Our faith does not depend on myths or legends or fairy tales retold by authors who never saw, heard, or touched that which they are writing about.
John’s personal eyewitness to the events of Jesus Christ is in full agreement with that reported by the other apostles.
“ For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honour and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved with whom I am well pleased.’ 18 We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” – 2 Peter 1:16-21
So this is our confidence in a truly inspired New Testament. It is the word of eyewitnesses. The witnesses all agree. The words of the New Testament were all written within the generation of the first Apostles and disciples of Jesus. Nothing was accepted as Scripture or inspired except that which had the authority of the Apostles. No other religion contains the same kind of unimpeachable witness to the substance of its so-called divine words or scriptures.
Thank you, God, for the assurance of the reality of Jesus Christ, carefully preserved in the pages of Christian Scripture. Thank you for a Bible that we can always rely on as the truth. You have made yourself known through your Word, and through that Word we can know you, know your will, and have a relationship with you and Jesus Christ. Keep us in your Word always and forever, that our life may not seem empty, but rather filled with your Spirit and grace. Amen.